'US envoy runs American school'

'US envoy runs American school'

Washington had tried to delink the embassy

'US envoy runs American school'

The charter of the elite American Embassy School (AES), which is under scanner for alleged visa fraud, makes it clear that the US ambassador to India is responsible for its administration, though Washington has recently sought to dissociate its mission in New Delhi from the institution.

The US ambassador, as a representative of the American government, is responsible for the administration of the school.

The US ambassador also nominates two representatives to the school’s 10-member Board of Governors and the counselor for administrative affairs of the American Embassy should normally be one of them, says the charter of the institution.

As New Delhi started looking into alleged violations of visa and tax rules by the American Embassy School, Washington last week sought to distance the US Embassy here from the activities of the educational institute.

US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told journalists in Washington on January 17 last that the American Embassy did not run the school.

“The Association (American Embassy School Association) is being formed pursuant to the American Ambassador’s responsibility, on behalf of the Government of the United States of America, for the administration of the School; said responsibility being recognised in a bilateral undertaking dated June 28, 1973 between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India,” says Article II of the charter of the association that manages the school.

Article II of the charter spells out the “purpose, objectives and powers” of the association.

The charter also states that the association was being set up “under authority of Sections 921 and 1081 of the Foreign Service Act of 1946 (of the US), as amended.” It also makes it clear that the US ambassador to India reserves the right to dissolve the association.  Daniel P Moynihan was the US ambassador to India when the charter was adopted on March 7, 1974. Its most recent revision was approved by Washington’s current envoy to New Delhi, Nancy J Powell.

The New York Times last week reported that the AES authorities recently asked female teachers, whose husbands were or would be employed by the school, to mention their occupations as “housewife” in the applications for visa from Indian Government, thus not to reveal that they would be working. The advisory is being seen by New Delhi as an encouragement by the AES authorities to its teachers to commit visa fraud.

The AES is located on Chandragupta Marg just adjacent to the US Embassy in New Delhi. The sprawling school has about 1,500 students from nursery to 12th grade and about 35 per cent of them are Americans, while the rest are nationals of over 50 other countries.

Most of the students are children of employees of the US and other countries’ embassies, local units of the international organisations, global non-governmental organisations and executives of multinational companies.

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