Foreign secretary S Jaishankar said India has conveyed to the Donald Trump administration that Delhi’s partnership is important for the growing American economy to stay competitive.
Jaishankar, on a visit to the United States, said in Washington he had also discussed the challenges of terrorism with senior officials, while keeping the focus on US-India relationship.
When asked about the discussion held with the Trump administration over H1-B visa, the foreign secretary said the issue was discussed in a number of meetings with officials as well as the Congress.
During the meetings, the Indian side conveyed that the H1-B was a category of trade and services which help the American economy.
“If the trump administration’s intention is to bring back American companies to America and attract more foreign investment in America therefore there will be more growth then it is important that growing America remains competitive. So, there actually will be a growing need for this partnership,” Jaishankar said during a conference at the Indian embassy in Washington, DC.
He added, “Of course in the US context it is seen as part of an immigration basket but what I would remind you is that the President himself in his address to the Congress referred to a merit based approach to this subject.”
“We received across the board a lot respect expressed for the Indian skills and Indians in the United States.”
He said that the Indian side has spoken about the issue both in the US Congress and the administration, and he believes that it was received with a degree of understanding.
The foreign secretary held meetings with senior US administration officials, including secretary of state Rex W Tillerson, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, secretary of homeland security John F Kelly, national security adviser Lt Gen HR McMaster, House speaker Paul Ryan and other Congress members.
Jaishankar also interacted with American businesses in the US-India Business Council, adding that the visit was very productive and the new administration has a positive view of India.
Jaishankar said he extended an invitation to Tillerson and Ross for visiting India, which they accepted in principal.
Jaishankar’s four-day visit to the US was aimed at sensitising the Trump administration over India’s concerns over the security of Indian nationals in America following a possible cut in H1-B and L1 visas.
This is his second visit to the US since the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.