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Jaishankar bats for more US visas for ‘trusted’ Indians

Ahead of a crucial meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers of India and the US, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said as an Indian Foreign Minister he was “very assured” that “my relationship with the US is in a very strong position”.

However, American immigration policies should reflect the “trusted talent” from India which has always done “the right thing in their particular environment”.

The Minister was also firm that American military suppliers will have to look for altered business opportunities after New Delhi decided to ban the imports of several weapons platforms.

“This is an area [skilled immigration] where the US should recognise what is in the American interest. And that is in Indian interest,” the Minister said at a webinar organised by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum. Jaishankar twice mentioned “trust” with Indian talent as if to draw a line with immigrants to the US from some other countries who have been indicted for espionage and data theft.

The Minister was seeking freer immigration policies for “trusted” talent from his country against the backdrop of a severe squeeze on visa categories such as H-1B availed by tens of thousands of Indian every year.

On observations from the US side that the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” policy had led to confusion among defence suppliers, the Minister said, “Products should be made in India which is among the world’s top economies. Why should they be bought from abroad? This is a great opportunity for countries to invest in defence manufacturing. Terms have become more liberal. It is good for your business.”

He also sought to dispel the impression that India was seeking a closer security relationship as a hedge to China. “The partnership is not tailored to a particular situation or focused on a country. It is about the larger ability of India and US to think alike in so many ways…to secure the world and make it a better place.”