Krishna talks H1B fee, outsourcing with Hillary

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 00:23

New York: India today conveyed its concerns
to the US on issues like H1B visa fee hike, export control
restrictions and outsourcing ban during a meeting between
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his counterpart
Hillary Clinton here.

"Our concerns have been raised and we have spoken our
views about the risks inherent in protectionist trends that
often detract from the positive impulses of cooperation in
trade and economic interaction between the two countries,"
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who was also present during
the 30-minute Krishna-Clinton meeting, told reporters here.

"I think that was also understood by the US
administration in our discussions and they were agreeable to
the fact that we need to discuss these issues and try to
resolve them," she said.

At the same time, Rao underlined that the spat over the
visa issue should be viewed as only a small part of a much
larger relationship between the US and India.

"...the sum of the relationship is greater than its parts
and what we have is growing strategic dialogue and growing
partnership between the two countries," she said.

The Americans, on their part, also noted that in a large
and complicated relationship there were bound to be some
irritants.

"But I think what unites us is the fact that there is so
much good and so much superb cooperation that is taking place,
so I think that good common cooperation will help carry us
through a lot of these irritants," Assistant Secretary of
State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, said.

On another contentious issue of export control of high-
tech items to India, he noted that the "the US was looking to
find a positive way forward. We are not quite there yet. So we
need to continue to work on that. And again I am confident of
a positive outcome."

Blake further pointed out that there is "goodwill" on
both sides to resolve all these irritants. "So I`m confident
that we`re going to be able to work our way through these."

Krishna and Clinton also described President Barack
Obama`s upcoming visit to India in November as "a defining
moment in the history of our bilateral relations," he said.

During their meeting, the two leaders discussed several
other issues including Afghanistan, floods in Pakistan,
climate change talks, Indo-US nuclear cooperation
and sanctions on Iran.

Blake further said that the Obama administration realised
that "everyone had a stake in India`s emergence as a global
power" and described the "reciprocal visit" of Obama as
"momentous and consequential". Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
was Obama`s first state guest last year.

The top US official termed the Krishna-Clinton meeting as
"very friendly and useful".

Blake, who said the UN Security Council reform would be
discussed during Obama`s upcoming India visit, did not
indicate which way the US was leaning, and only pointed out
that the reforms were "under discussion".

During her meeting with Krishna, Clinton thanked India
for its commitment to Afghanistan and the developmental
assistance it had provided.

The two leaders also agreed that New Delhi and Washington
needed to work closely on climate change-related issues ahead
of a conference in Cancun at the end of the year.

Clinton told Krishna the US felt that the sanctions
against Iran were working and hoped that the international
community would support these curbs.

Commenting on Indo-Pak ties, Blake said there were bound
to be "irritants" in the "complicated relationship" shared by
India and Pakistan.

His comments came days after Pakistan Foreign Minister
Shah Mahmood Qureshi called for the US intervention on
Kashmir.

Blake, however, noted that the Kashmir issue was not
discussed at the Krishna-Clinton meeting.

Blake and US Under Secretary of State for Political
Affairs William Burns will be visiting India before Obama`s
first presidential trip to the country.

With the US attaching "important priority" to liability
matters, Clinton raised the issue of India`s civil nuclear
liability legislation with Krishna during their meeting in the
wake of concerns by American business to some provisions.

"The issue was raised with Minister Krishna today and
he explained about the processes that the bill had gone
through," Foreign Secretary Rao said.

-PTI



First Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 00:23

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