Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

US Ambassador reassures Indians on H-1B visa fears

US Ambassador reassures Indians on H-1B visa fears

United States Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster on Thursday underscored that Islamabad's "positive" contribution is imperative for the stability and security in Afghanistan. "Rather investing in each other's markets will mutually beneficial, will increase economic interactions and volume of trade", said Juster.

"Opening India's market further to USA trade and investment will spur our collaboration on many emerging technologies that will drive and protect our economies, including those related to advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity", Juster added. Accordingly, some companies are downgrading their operations there, while others are looking with great interest in alternative markets.

He also said although bilateral trade has reached $115 billion in 2016 from $20 billion in 2001, there is still plenty of room to expand the flow of goods and services in both directions and, in the process, for trade to become more reciprocal. "And we are working closely with India and our worldwide partners to secure India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group", he said. "In our view, fully free and fair trade will support and accelerate Prime Minister Modi's effort to improve India's long-term growth rate in a sustained way", he said, adding that Modi's determination to move India further up on the World Bank's ease of doing business index is inspiring.

"That was really a major impetus in suspending the security assistance to Pakistan because we feel they have not done all that they could to try to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan that are contributing to unrest in Afghanistan", Juster added.

The US envoy to India further emphasized on the "many" benefits of growing the bilateral economic relationship and making India a regional hub for USA business.

On the issue of H-1B visas, Juster said while the U.S. continues to attract the largest number of immigrants into the country, it plans to address some of the "fundamental issues" into the various categories of their visa regime.

On the issue of H-1B visas issued to Indian IT professionals working in the US, Juster said that the US administration and the US Congress undertook periodic reviews of its immigration policies.

He also said the Indo-US ties would grow and that both countries need to continue to have confidence and trust in each other and not be anxious about the future of the relationship.

Another way to step up defence cooperation, he said, is through military exchanges.

When asked about Sino-US ties, Juster noted, "We are interested in a constructive relationship". But he nevertheless underlined the important role that Pakistan too has in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Mr. "But we also want to make it clear that if they are going to be engaged in certain predatory economic behaviour or other activities than there's an alternative set of principles that other countries of the region are going to follow", he said.

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