Washington, DC – The United States on Thursday denied running the American Embassy School, located right next to the US Embassy, on the land owned by the US in Delhi but a top US official noted that the reports of visa status and tax discripancies were being addressed with India through diplomatic channels.
Answering a question at the daily press briefing on Thursday, Jen Psaki, the US State Department Spokesperson said, “It (American Embassy School) is not run by the embassy. Only about a third of the students there are American.”
On its website in an introduction for the its Governing Board, the American Embassy School says, “All executive powers of the Association are vested in the Board of Governors. Seven voting members of the Board are elected by the Association. In addition, the Director of AES is an ex-officio member of the Board and two non-voting members are appointed by the American Ambassador.”
Spokesperson Psaki gave the journalists “a little more history,” saying, “Since 1952, when the Embassy exchanged diplomatic notes with the Government of India to establish the American Embassy school, the school has succeeded in providing an international education in New Delhi for the children of diplomatic and ex-pat business communities.”
Earlier there was a report about alleged visa fraud and tax discrepancies in The New York Times saying. “A handout for new teachers at this city’s exclusive American Embassy School, an academic oasis for children of American 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,” the daily reported.
Asked to comment on the NYT report, Psaki told journalists, “We are in discussion with the Government of India regarding issues they have raised concerning the school. Deputy Secretary Burns discussed these very issues with the Ambassador earlier this week, and we are committed to resolving them through diplomatic channels and to addressing the concerns that have been raised.”
According to a readout of a “productive lunch meeting” on Wednesday (January 14) at the State Department of US Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns with Indian Ambassador S. Jaishankar, “Deputy Secretary Burns and Ambassador Jaishankar affirmed the importance of the US-India strategic partnership.”
Agreeing that, “the past several weeks have been challenging,” as a diplomatic row between the US and India started following the arrest and indictment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York, the readout said, “Deputy Secretary Burns and Ambassador Jaishankar also 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 controversial arrest and strip-search of Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, on December 12, after a complaint from her maid, Richard, kick started the diplomatic row between the two democracies.
Khobragade, 39, at the heart of an ongoing diplomatic spat between India and the US left the US on January 9 as the US granted her complete immunity, two weeks after her transfer to the India’s permanent mission to the United Nation. Then the Government of India (GOI) transferred her to the Ministry of External Affairs, Delhi.