Last month, New York City police officer Manny Encarnacion was arrested in New Delhi for accidentally slipping three bullets into his suitcase. He's being detained in India until the case is closed, which has spurred American outlets to speculate on whether the arrest is thinly veiled payback for the Devyani Khobragade debacle.
According to the Wall Street Journal, New York Rep. Peter King declared that the charges were trumped up in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry: "This excessive act by the Indian government is clearly politically motivated in response to the arrest of India's then-deputy consul general in December 2013 in New York for alleged visa fraud."
The New York Post definitively wrote, "India is getting revenge for Nannygate," while both the Post and the Journal noted that one of the officers who cuffed Encarnacion made a reference to Khobragade being strip-searched during her arrest.
Are Indian authorities still smarting from that incident? Hard to say. Weekly magazine India Today claims that's not the case: a senior official at Delhi airport said they simply held Encarnacion to the same standard that they would any Indian citizen: "If someone is carrying bullets in his baggage, it is against Indian law. There is a procedure to be followed in such cases. This is stand alone case, it has nothing to do with the Khobragade case."
As the New York Times pointed out, Encarnacion's lawyer did back this up and say the arrest “was as per the normal and standard legal procedure under which even Indians are arrested." He has also appealed to Indian authorities to drop the case, explaining that it was a genuine mistake on his client's part.
“We’ve said we want to get past some of the tensions that have been there over the past several months and move on ... I think we feel like we’ve moved past this and hope the Indians have as well."
The Hindu added that the allegations of a connection between the two incidents were “dismissed as ridiculous” by the Indian Consulate in New York.
Maybe Encarnacion's arrest wasn't a tit-for-tat maneuver. That doesn't, however, mean India has closed the book on the Khobragade affair. In Outlook magazine, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh cited "residual issues" that she thinks still need to be sorted out—but she was quick to then say that the two countries could sit down and hash things out due to their long history of working together. For now, we'll have to wait for a giant pacifier to put this issue to bed.