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Rao meets Clinton, Jones; conveys India's concerns on H1B issue

world Updated: Sep 18, 2010 12:23 IST
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India has conveyed its concerns to the US over the H1B visa fee hike and exchanged views on issues like UNSC expansion and nuclear liability bill during Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's talks with top American officials focusing on President Barack Obama's November visit to the country.

Rao's meetings with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Adviser Gen (Retd) James Jones and other key officials of the Obama Administration in Washington on Friday "laid the foundation" of a successful Presidential visit to India in early November, the White House said.

After her meeting with Jones at the White House, National Security Council (NSC) spokesman Mike Hammer told PTI that "both agreed that the vast range of cooperation between us would set the foundation for a successful presidential visit and further our strategic partnership."

Noting that the Rao-Jones meeting was held to continue preparations for the US President's upcoming visit to India in early November, Hammer said: "In addition, General Jones and Rao discussed other developments in the South Asia region, noting our mutual desire for stability."

Besides driving down to the White House for her meeting with Jones, Rao spent most of her day yesterday at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, where she had a series of meetings on issues ranging from the bilateral ties, situation in the region, India's role at the global level to the expansion of the UN Security Council.

However, all these meetings were focussed on the early November visit of Obama to India.

On the Clinton-Rao meeting, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said the Secretary of State held talks with Rao along with her top aides like Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake.

They discussed the latest developments in the US-India relationship and preparations for the President's trip to India later this year, he said.

After Rao's meetings, a senior Indian official said the deliberations reflected the "transformational" relationship between India and the United States. There is a convergence of views and strategic interest on a wide range of global issues.

At the same time, officials of both countries conveyed their respective concerns during the meeting.

While India was quick to raise the issue of H-1B and other perceived protectionist measures of the US in the recent past, the US spoke of its dissatisfaction over the Nuclear Liability Bill that was recently passed by Parliament and said it was incompatible with Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC).