India continues to tread on a tremulous path in connection to the case where a diplomat working in the Saudi Embassy in New Delhi has been accused of raping and torturing two Nepali women. The tensions between the two governments can affect their bilateral ties.
On Friday, both the MEA and PMO discussed the issue, with the matter even reaching national security adviser Ajit Doval, states a report in The Times of India.
The Gurgaon police has got a rap from the Centre for passing information regarding the case to the media. The report states "The police has been told to stop media leaks, particularly to TV channels, which have included video clips of the diplomat's wife and daughter that has incensed both the Saudi and Indian governments."
The Saudi government has dismissed all allegations against its diplomat as “completely false” and "contrary to facts in our possession".
On Thursday, Jaideep Mazumdar, chief of protocol, MEA, called Saudi ambassador Saud Mohammed Al Sati asking for the co-operation of the embassy in the probe by the Gurgaon police.
Since the accused has claimed diplomatic immunity, the police can neither detain nor arrest him. In such a situation, the Indian government can ask Saudi Arabia to waive his immunity, which is unlikely.
As the TOI report states, the Saudi government is unlikely to withdraw the diplomat from the home country, since that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt, which is contrary to the stance they have taken till now.
India could also expel the diplomat and in doing so Saudi can lay the blame on the Indian government while continuing to claim innocence of their diplomat.
This is reportedly a likely situation. Sources told The Indian Express that India may consider expelling the diplomat as a last resort if Saudi Arabia does not co-operate in the probe by the Gurgaon police and let him be questioned.
Such a move could also work against India.
The TOI states that, "By doing this, however, India might open itself up to possible retaliatory expulsion by the Saudi government in Riyadh of an Indian diplomat. The Indians believe it could even increase risks to the almost 3 million Indians who live and work in Saudi Arabia. That would definitely affect bilateral ties at a time when they could not have been better."
India can also declare the accused persona non grata and withdraw his diplomatic accreditation.