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No visas for suspect students, US told

New Delhi, Dec. 23: The Union home ministry will continue with its stringent system of scrutinising visa applications despite complaints that India was not “very welcoming to American students”.

US ambassador David Mulford had claimed in a meeting with home ministry officials that visas of some students on Fulbright scholarships had not been cleared over the past six-nine months.

But he was told that India reserved the right to verify applications and deny visas in suspect cases.

A senior home ministry official said applications had been rejected only in cases where there was confirmed intelligence that CIA operatives were seeking visas in the guise of research scholars.

“The objection raised was unfounded as we do not take time to clear visas in unambiguous cases. In fact, we are giving express visa clearance to students of almost all countries, barring a few, who are coming for regular graduate and postgraduate courses,” an official said.

“However, we do a close scrutiny in case of visas sought for research and higher research and do not grant visas where there is an apparent anomaly, such as if somebody wants to learn kathak in Warangal or yoga in Kashmir. We have cleared almost all 76 visas seeking Fulbright scholarships.”

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