India-US to strengthen ties under Trump: Arun Jaitley
The Dollar Business Bureau
Arun Jaitley expressed optimism for the future of India-US bilateral relations during his address at an event hosted to Indian Ambassador to USA, Navtej Sarna. Jaitley is currently visiting USA to participate in the yearly spring meets of World Bank and IMF along with other multilateral events like the G-20 conclave of finance ministers.
In what was India's first ministerial level meet with the Trump administration, Arun Jaitley discussed the much-hyped issue of H1-B visa with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Highlighting the contributions made my Indian employees to the American economy, Jaitley said that the US government must consider these aspects in arriving at a decision regarding the work visa which has caused a lot of apprehension in the Indian IT industry.
In an unusual retaliatory tone, Nirmala Sitharaman also issued a statement stating that in taking a decision on H1-B visa, US must keep in mind that many American corporations are reaping good returns from their operations in India.
Despite this sufficiently visible conflict of opinion, Jaitley averred that the US-India ties had significantly improved over the last few years regardless of political shifts in both countries.
"The US-India relationship over the last few decades has significantly improved. It is far stronger, far matured. It defied the changes in the government whether in the US or in India," he said. "The Indian government is looking forward to working with the Trump Administration to strengthen the various dimensions of the bilateral ties," he added.
Speaking of strong fundamentals supporting India's economy, he praised India's exceptional growth rate despite a global slowdown.
"We have now undertaken a very ambitious reform of cleaning up the system of political funding in India, something which had been eluding Indian democracy for quite sometime," he said.
After having met the Commerce Secretary, the Finance Minister is also scheduled to meet the US Secretary of Treasury.
India and USA share healthy bilateral trade relations and have made progress in ratifying defence contracts like LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement). While USA is India's second largest trade partner and the biggest export destination, the superpower considers India its 'major defence partner'. For all the bonhomie achieved as a result of decades of bilateral negotiations, the ice is nowhere close to breaking on other matters of prime significance to India, like ushering a more liberalised regime for bilateral services trade, exchange of personnel, or drawing international attention to Pakistan's terror campaign.