US assures India of fair solution for Tri-Valley 'duped' students

Washington, Feb 16: The United States has assured India of finding a fair solution for the Indian students caught in the Tri-Valley University visa fraud scam.

After meeting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in Washington, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said the Tri-Valley case "was a very important subject."

She told reporters that she took up the matter with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns; and conveyed to him the concerns of the students.

Rao further said that she informed the US officials that the future of these students should not be affected, as most of them have not been involved in any illegal activities.

The India Foreign Secretary said she was assured by Burns that "US wants to find a fair solution" and the Indian Embassy will be in touch with the consular section of the State Department to enable the students to get alternative placements in a bonafide university.

Secretary Clinton had on Monday met Indian envoy Meera Shankar, who handed over the details of the Indian students enrolled in what was dubbed a "sham university", as desired by Clinton.

The Secretary of State had also promised to help Indian students in a telephonic conversation with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Sunday.

The California-based University was shut down on charges of a massive visa fraud. According to a federal complaint filed in a California court in January, the university helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status. The university is said to have 1,555 students. As many as 95 per cent of these students are Indian nationals, the complaint said.

During her interactions on Monday and Tuesday, Rao met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Robert D. Hormats, Under Secretary for Industry and Security at Commerce Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen O. Tauscher, Under Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, Senators Richard Lugar and Mark Warner, Congressman Howard Berman and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. By Asif Ismail


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