An angry India pops the expat ‘bubble’ in Delhi

The US-India diplomatic row continues to worsen in ways that could affect the ability of multinationals to send their more able staff to India.

Indians shout slogans outside the US Embassy to protest against the alleged mistreatment of New-York-based Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, in New Delhi last month.

Some years ago in India, I found myself in a casual conversation with the US ambassador at the time on the grounds of the American Embassy School in Delhi. He remarked that maintaining the quality of the school had become a concern after executives impressed on him the school’s importance for keeping expatriate workers based in a country that many find difficult.

Now, the school and other expat infrastructure are coming under pressure as the Indian government reacts to the arrest and fast-approaching indictment of its diplomat, Devyani Khobragade. Indian officials are now enforcing the letter of the law with respect to the US presence in Delhi as a show of reciprocity. That means calling out any visa infractions among school staff and reexamining the tax status of the foreigners working there. (The school’s foreign staff has enjoyed some Indian income tax exemptions, and the school also pays generously compared with other international schools in order to get teachers to relocate there.)

In the latest move, India on Wednesday called for the closure of an American club on the US embassy grounds. I took my share of dips at the club’s swimming pool.... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Frontier Markets.

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