In a custom derived through centuries of the practice of diplomacy, a diplomat enjoys immunity under the Vienna Convention from criminal and judicial procedures while serving in a foreign land. As a corollary to it, they are also at a safe distance from physical attacks, harassment and mental torture. The limits of these advantages are, however, seriously tested when Indian and Pakistani diplomats serve in each other’s countries.
In 70 years of engagement, relations between India and Pakistan have mostly been spiked with belligerence. But a sure sign of bilateral ties taking a turn for the worse is when diplomats and embassy officials become targets of hostility.
The recent spurt in such incidents has once again brought the ugly side of the troubled relationship to the surface, forcing high commissioners of both countries to lodge formal complaints—about intimidation and regular harassment of their diplomats and offi-cials—with their hosts.
“The attacks on diplomats are a signal to each other of hostile intent,”...