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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

India, US split on Afghanistan

HT Correspondents , Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Washington, June 22, 2013
First Published: 01:24 IST(22/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:26 IST(22/6/2013)

India and the US begin the fourth Strategic Dialogue on Monday in the shadow of widening differences on key issues like trade and Afghanistan.

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India on Thursday came out in support of Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai's opposition to direct Taliban-US talks, saying insurgent groups cannot be treated as a government. And India is unhappy about the ongoing immigration reforms in the US, which, in turn, is unhappy with India's restrictive trade and investment policies.

This issue will come up for discussion between external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and US secretary of state John Kerry amid other issues.

India's open support to Karzai comes just after the Russians backed the Afghan president. The reconciliation process should not seek to create equivalence between an internationally recognised government and insurgent groups, said external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbarudin.

India supports an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled reconciliation process, within the framework of the Afghan Constitution and internationally accepted norms".

The countries will also deal with tensions over trade and investment policies. India has been concerned about the US immigration reform efforts unfairly targeting H-1B dependents Indian IT firms in the US.

The US is bringing trade concerns of its own. "There are concerns by the American business community about some obstacles to trade," said a senior state department official.

He listed them out: intellectual property protection, local content restrictions, continued restrictions on FDI, taxation.


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