India took up the issues of H1B visa and the safety of Indians in the US, especially against the backdrop of Kansas shooting, forcefully with the Trump Administration during the on-going four-day visit of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
These two issues have been agitating the mind of Indians back home, and they were high on his agenda before he left for the US in his third visit to the country after Mr Trump’s victory.
The Foreign Secretary, while addressing a press conference in Washington today described his visit as very productive and said he discussed a wide-range of bilateral issues besides terrorism, Afghanistan and Asia-Pacific region.
”There is a lot of goodwill and a lot of interest in taking the relationship forward,” Dr Jaishankar said.
”On the H1-B visa we conveyed that this visa was a category that actually helps the American economy,” he said, adding that if the Trump administration’s intention is to bring companies back to America, this category of visa should be retained for keeping a growing America competitive. ”So H1-B is an economic issue, a trade issue,” even if for Americans it is part of the basket of immigration issues,” he said.
The issue of an Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s killing was also discussed during Dr Jaishnakar’s high-level discussions in US.
”We heard expression of deep sorry, deep regret, and a sense that we should treat it as an individual act and that American society as a whole was not that,” he said.
The US authorities assured that their justice system would bring the culprits to book, he said The Foreign Secretary said the US sees India as a very good solid economic partner country with which there was a strong security and foreign policy convergence.
”At the same time, the Trump administration looks at the world quite differently from its predecessor. We need to absorb that and adapt to it and look at new possibilities,” he said .
During his visit the Foreign Secretary held meetings with a number of senior members of the Trump Administration 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 members of the Congress.
He also had a very fruitful interaction with members of the American business bodies.