PM to raise visa issue during Obama visit: Preneet

Last Updated: Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 17:49

Patiala: India will raise the issue of the
proposed increase of visa fees with US President Barack Obama
during his visit to the country in November, Minister of State
for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said today.

"India has already conveyed its concern to the US and the
Prime minister will also take up this matter with President
Barack Obama during his visit in November to India," Kaur told
reporters here.

Pointing out that the US government was still thinking
about its implementation, she said "let`s be hopeful that some
positive will come after deliberations between two head of
states in November."

There is resentment among Indian IT firms over US` move
to hike H-1B and L-1 visa fees. The hike in the visa fees to
fund new measures would result in Indian IT companies having
to shell out up to $250 million annually on visa costs,
industry experts have said.

The proposed increase in visa application fee by at least
$2,000 for next five years would raise nearly $550 million out
of $650 million that have been allocated for increasing the
security of the US-Mexico border.

The minister was asked about concerns voiced by countries
including New Zealand regarding participation in the Delhi
Commonwealth Games.

"When it is a high-profile event, the threat perception
is always there and it is better to be alert," the minister
said adding, "we will provide fool-proof security to all the
players and officials."

Asked about Punjab police`s claim that Sikh militants
were using Malaysia as their base to launch terror strikes on
India or to hamper the Commonwealth Games in October, she said
she had no information about it and would make inquiries.


First Published: Sunday, August 22, 2010 - 17:49

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