S Jaishankar met US foreign secretary Rex Tillerson. Photograph: (AFP)
S Jaishankar said he had conveyed India's concerns on H-1B and immigration to the US
Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, presently on a US visit, said on Friday they have conveyed to the new administration that Indian partnership is important for the growing American economy to stay competitive.
When asked about discussion held with the Trump administration over the H-1B visa issue, the Foreign Secretary said the issue was discussed in a number of meetings with administration officials as well as the Congress.
During the meetings, the Indian side conveyed that the H-1B was a category of trade and services which actually helps 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," said Jaishankar 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 heard across the board a lot respect expressed for the Indian skills and Indians in the United States."'
He said that the Indian side has certainly made its point quite forcefully both in the Congress and the administration and believes that it met with a degree of understanding.
The Foreign Secretary held meetings with a number of senior US administration officials including Secretary of State Rex W Tillerson, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Homeland Security John F Kelly, National Security Advisor Lt Gen HR McMaster, House speaker Paul Ryan along with meetings with senior member of the Congress.
Jaishankar said a wide range of issues were discussed during these meetings. The Foreign Secretary also interacted with American business through the US-India Business Council. He added that overall it has been a very productive visit and that the new administration has a very positive view of India and there was a lot of interest in taking this relationship forward. He also mentioned that he extended an invitation to Tillerson and Ross to visit India at an early date, which they accepted in principal.
Jaishankar's four-day visit to the US aimed at sensitising the Trump administration over India's concerns over the security of Indian nationals in the US following a possible cut in H-1B and L-1 visas.This is his second visit to the US since the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the US.