A US consulate official in Chennai landed herself in a major controversy on Friday for an unsavoury remark against Tamilians during a session with some students of the SRM University.
Chao was narrating her experience during a 72-hour train trip between New Delhi and Orissa when she was a student in 1989.
"I was on a 24-hour trip from Delhi to Orissa. But, after 72 hours, the train still did not reach the destination... and my skin became dirty and dark like the Tamilians."
Chao's remark created a furore in Tamil Nadu, prompting the US consulate to immediately issue a clarification on her remarks.
In a statement put up on its website, the consulate said: "Ms Chao made an inappropriate comment. Ms Chao deeply regrets if her unfortunate remarks offended anyone, as that was certainly not her intent."