so much for 'natural allies'.
san, once again the yanks show their true colors. but will the indians learn?
the only antidote to all this is to be rich and powerful.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ram Narayanan <email@example.com>
Date: Feb 18, 2006 7:02 AM
Subject: Do US bureaucrats specialize in making enemies out of friends?
Dear Rajeev Srinivasan:
It's important that the State Department, the lawmakers, academics and the media pay attention to this case of immature and insensitive handling of a visa issue.
How can America win more friends in India if its bureaucrats specialize in making enemies out of friends, especially on the eve of President Bush's long awaited trip to India?
Please read the following two stories.
THE TRIBUNE, FEBRUARY 18, 2006
US at it once again
It is arrogant towards friends and foes alike
THE Americans have put up another spectacular display of their legendary arrogance to demonstrate why it is difficult to love them. Just when their relations with India were improving, they have spoiled things once again by denying visas to two of the top Indian scientists on flimsy grounds. Not only that, they have even had the cheek to suggest that one of them, Prof Goverdhan Mehta, former Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, was working in "chemical warfare and bioterrorism". This despite the fact that all his academic research relates to "new molecular entities" and is not even remotely connected with chemical warfare. Professor Mehta is not only one of the world's top scientists in organic chemistry but also a member of Prime Minister's Scientific Advisory Committee. By denying – or delaying – visa to him, the US has all but accused the Indian government of having bioterrorists in its ranks. The US embassy's feeble clarification that no final decision has been taken on Professor Mehta's visa application pending receipt of additional information necessary to process his visa request is more by way of whitewashing.
The other scientist, Mr Placid Rodriguez, is equally eminent. The Raja Ramanna Fellow is a former Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalapakkam. Both have travelled to the US many times in the past. Even if there were certain additional visa restrictions in the wake of 9/11, these could have been easily waived in deference to their stature. But then, the US is very unflinching in its resolve to rub everyone the wrong way, be he a friend or a foe.
That is why it has more critics than admirers in the world. What it should not forget is that India is too large a country to fit under its thumb. The public opinion here is not exactly overflowing with genial feelings towards the "ugly Americans" (yes, that is how they are seen everywhere thanks to their own antics) after their ambassador issued a vote-with-us-or-else threat on the Iran issue. Such repeated provocations will only derail the strategic partnership that they want to have with this country. And all this too on the eve of President Bush's possibly, a landmark visit to India!
THE TELGRAPH, FEBRUARY 18, 2006
Scientist visa in US soup
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, Feb. 17: The US today said it has not taken a final decision on the visa applications of two Indian scientists.
However, one of them — former Indian Institute of Science head Goverdhan Mehta — maintained that he was denied permission to travel and vowed not to reapply.
The US embassy, in a statement released here, regretted the inconvenience caused to Mehta, an expert in organic chemistry, and nuclear scientist Placid Rodriguez.
The two had applied separately for visas at the US consulate in Chennai. While Mehta was invited for a lecture at the American Chemical Society, Rodriguez was to attend a symposium at the annual meeting of the Metals, Minerals and Materials Society in March.
The US embassy came out with the statement after reports about the visa denial sparked outrage in the Indian scientific establishment.
"Although it is generally the US policy not to comment on individual cases, the US embassy feels compelled to correct the inaccuracies regarding Professor Mehta's application for a visa," said the statement.
"No final decision has been taken on Professor Mehta's application pending receipt of additional information necessary to process his visa request," it said.
An embassy official said the US has respect for the scientists of India and other countries and no one was trying to discourage visits by members of the Indian academic and scientific community.
Mehta, however, is not impressed. "I was clearly told that visa has not been granted," he said from Bangalore, where the IISc is located.
The scientist was furious at the behaviour of consulate officials. He felt humiliated when the interviewer asked him to convince him that his work was not related to chemical warfare.
"I could not answer the absurd question. Then I was told that I have not been honest. How can anyone say this to a scientist? It was not a personal humiliation," he said.
Mehta has decided not to reapply even as an official from the US consulate today requested him to do so.
The US embassy officials said Rodriguez's visa had been delayed for different reasons. They regretted that the professor was upset.
The mission was in touch with Rodriguez and was encouraging him to continue with the visa application, the officials said. Mehta was welcome to continue his application whenever he chose to, they added.
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