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Michelle Young – Jan 16, 2014
And the 9th house issues between the US and India made the news today with the following, and I’ll add here that the US Embassy clearly needs some intercultural training! The comments noted in the article are absolutely deplorable!
Indian school ensnared in US diplomatic row
All India | Gardiner Harris and Benjamin Weiser, The New York Times | Updated: January 16, 2014 15:00 IST
New Delhi: A handout for new teachers at this city’s exclusive American Embassy School, an academic oasis for children of U.S. diplomats and other expatriates, offers some unusual guidance to female teachers whose husbands will also be teaching at the school.
“The female spouse should not state that she will be working,” the handout states, instructing spouses to list their occupation on visa applications as “housewife,” adding that “no sexism is intended on our part.”
That advice, which top Indian officials say is illegal, has ensnared the American school, a cherished institution among foreigners living here, in a growing diplomatic spat between India and the United States that began last month with the arrest in New York of Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consular official, on charges of visa fraud and making false statements in connection with her employment of a domestic worker.
The arrest and her resulting strip-search shocked the Indian diplomatic corps and generated about as much outraged commentary in the Indian news media as the beheading last year of an Indian soldier on a disputed border with Pakistan.
Since the arrest, Indian diplomats have peppered U.S. officials here with a blizzard of questions and demands in the hope of uncovering similar violations by U.S. diplomats. The police removed security barriers in front of the U.S. Embassy here and stopped many diplomats’ cars and cited them for minor traffic violations such as having tinted windows. Many of the moves and queries have been quietly shrugged off by U.S. officials.
But questions about the school have sent a deep shudder through the expatriate community here. The school, which is next to the U.S. Embassy on land owned by the U.S. government, has a swimming pool, tennis courts and vast athletic fields. Its stone classroom buildings and generous libraries could grace an Ivy League campus. Its price tag – around $20,000 a year – rivals that of some of New York City’s top private schools. A small army of uniformed security men patrol its perimeter.
Paul Chmelik, the school’s top administrator, refused to comment Tuesday about the visa issue with the Indian government. Expecting an article in The New York Times, Chmelik emailed parents Wednesday warning that “there could be a goodly number of members of the media present around the perimeter of the school during the course of the school day today and Thursday and Friday.”
“So you know,” he continued, “the article will most likely focus on the degree to which the school has complied with various government regulations.”
Hours earlier, the State Department in Washington released a statement that the deputy secretary of state, William J. Burns, had hosted the Indian ambassador, S. Jaishankar, for a lunch meeting at which they discussed “the variety of issues raised by the Ministry of External Affairs via diplomatic note, including alleged issues with the American Embassy School.”
“Deputy Secretary Burns conveyed that we take their concerns very seriously and will continue to address them via appropriate diplomatic channels,” the statement said.
False rumors have swirled through the school in recent days of vast teacher dismissals, and Nancy J. Powell, the U.S. ambassador to India, addressed a special meeting Tuesday afternoon of school faculty and staff members.
About a third of the school’s nearly 1,500 students are from the United States, another 20 percent are from South Korea and the rest come from dozens of other countries. The students include many children of foreign diplomats, executives and journalists.