A top Indian scientist has reportedly been denied US visa for a conference in Ohio.
Dr MO Garg, who heads the prestigious Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), told NDTV that he submitted his passport to the US embassy more than 20 days ago as he had to attend an important international conference in Ohio starting June 17.
The Annual Global Research meeting, that he was going to attend in the US, was scheduled to take place on June 17, 18 and 19. Garg says his passport is still with the US embassy.
He said, “Visa issues are a thorn in the developing Indo-US relations. If the same treatment were reciprocated by India, then the US would take revenge. An opportunity to establish better scientific relations is lost.”
However, a spokesperson for the US embassy said that the visa process had merely got delayed and the scientist wasn’t denied the visa.
He said, ” “The visa has not been refused, it is in process. We hope he will be able to travel next week. We regret any delay due to the system outage. We hope he will have many more opportunities in the future to further enhance scientific cooperation between India and the US.”
This is not the first time an eminent Indian scientist has complained of harassment by the US authorities. In 2006, the US had to isssue apology for denying a visa to Dr Goverdhan Mehta, then Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
Critics may now question the Indian government’s generosity towards including American nationals for its visa on arrival scheme. Narendra Modi government last year had extended its visa on arrival scheme to American citizens.