US assures India of ‘fair solution’ to sham varsity issue

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The US has assured India that it's looking at a “fair solution” of the issue of some 1,500 Indian students affected by the closure of a sham US university on charges of visa fraud. The assurance came when Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao took up the issue with US Undersecretary of State Bill Burns on Tuesday as a follow-up to a conversation over the weekend between Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Raising this “very important subject” with Burns, Rao conveyed India's concern over the welfare of the students and said the future of a large number of a qualified students should not be affected, she told reporters on Tuesday. Some 1,555 students of the “sham” Tri-Valley University (TVU) in California, 90 percent of them from India – mostly from Andhra Pradesh – face the prospect of deportation unless they can get admission in another institution to retain their student visa status. Rao said she told Burns that as many of the Indian students were not involved in any illegal activity they should be enabled to find placement in alternative institutions. Burns assured her that this is what the US was looking at to work out a “fair solution”. The Indian embassy here, she said, is going to be in touch with the State Department “very systematically” for seeking a solution that would help students find alternative placement without affecting their future. Rao said she did not believe that the issue would affect the image of Indian students, whose capability is ranked among the very best in the US. Over 100,000 students come from India every year and she hoped the flow would continue. Ahead of Tuesday's meeting with Clinton and Burns, Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar had conveyed to Clinton the details on the issue of Indian students of TVU. Shankar sent the details to Clinton after Krishna sought her personal intervention in a telephonic talk over the weekend to ensure that the interests of Indian students of the sham university are protected and their future is not jeopardised.

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