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Nirupama Rao to take up Tri-Valley students issue with Clinton

Washington: India on Tuesday asked the United States to take steps to address the plight of hundreds of Indian students of California-based Tri-Valley University, which was shut down after a major visa scam.

Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Meera Shankar sent details of the affected students to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Following the telephonic conversation between the External Affairs Minister of India and the U.S. Secretary of State on February 13, the Indian Ambassador today conveyed to the Secretary of State details on the issue of the Indian students at Tri-Valley University,” Indian Embassy spokesman Virander Paul said in a statement.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao along with Ms. Shankar are expected to meet Ms. Clinton at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department later on Tuesday.

The two Indian diplomats are likely to follow up on fate of Tri-Valley University students during the meeting with Ms. Clinton, which was primarily scheduled as a preparatory meeting for Ms. Clinton’s visit to India in April.

According to a federal complaint filed in a California court in January, the TVU had 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.

According to available information, 18 students in California were radio-tagged by ICE as part of their investigation against Tri-Valley University. Radio-tags on two students were removed last week.

Ms. Rao would meet Ms. Clinton to primarily discuss the second India-US Strategic Dialogue scheduled in April, the latter’s spokesman said on Monday.

“Primarily, they will focus on preparation for the upcoming Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi, but she’ll have the opportunity to meet with Under Secretary (of State for Political Affairs) Bill Burns,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.

The U.S. Secretary of State is scheduled to visit New Delhi in early April for the second India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue.

Rao arrived here from New York on Sunday evening and held meetings with officials of the Obama Administration including those at the White House and the State Department on Monday. She also met Congressmen at the Capitol Hill.

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