'America First' and 'Make in India' are compatible: Envoy Juster
Jan 13 2018 by Desiree Burns
Allaying fears of a probable change in the visa regulations that could affect around 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders and could even lead to them being deported, American Ambassador Kenneth Juster assured on January 11 that the United States will continue to be a country of immigrants and that will not change. Accordingly, some companies are downgrading their operations there, while others are looking with great interest in alternative markets.
"But let me go further and suggest that it is time to put a strategic lens on our economic relationship, just as we have done with our defence relationship", he said.
Juster said shared values and "common interests" inform the vision of New Delhi and Washington for the strategically significant Indo-Pacific region, in which the USA considers India to be a "leading power". Interestingly, he said that "America First" and "Make in India" are not incompatible.
"India is a leading power in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond". Noting that while bilateral trade has increased manifold over the years, Juster said that there is still plenty of room to grow. We can advance these objectives in several ways, which we expect to discuss this spring in our new 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue and incorporate in a roadmap to drive action on both sides, " said Juster. The US envoy, however, expressed concerns about persistent trade deficits, including the one the US has with India. Talking about India's NSG bid, he said, "We are working with partners to secure India's Nuclear Suppliers Group membership".
After talking much about the amicable relationship with India, he vaguely gave his assurances to the under-threat Indians working and residing in the United States on temporary visas.
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India and the United States have been vocal about containing the terror in Afghanistan and spreading harmony in the nation, and the 63-year-old U.S. diplomat shed light on Pakistan's role achieving that.
He said India and the US can work together in Afghanistan, partner with Japan and Australia in the Indo-Pacific, coordinate their humanitarian assistance, as well as cooperate on connectivity projects in South Asia.
Mr Kumar said India continued to closely monitor the developments relating to the issue, adding that alarmist projections on possible difficulties to Indian professionals have been laid to rest by the Department of Homeland Security in the US.
Pivoting to science and technology, Juster called them the fourth pillar of the relationship and noted collaborations between ISRO and NASA as well as the joint strides in medical innovation. Pakistan is also important to the situation in Afghanistan. "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.