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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

From strategic ties to ‘flow of talent’: A look at Jaishankar’s US visit

While no readouts were available of the meetings, barring his meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the external affairs minister has tweeted about them.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2019 08:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
External affairs minister S Jaishankar held meetings with several top US officials in Washington during his three-day trip. (ANI Photo)
External affairs minister S Jaishankar held meetings with several top US officials in Washington during his three-day trip. (ANI Photo)
         

External affairs minister S Jaishankar held meetings with several top US officials in Washington during his three-day trip. India and the United States discussed an entire range of issues from strategic ties and the Indo-Pacific region to the movement of specialized workers and the welfare of Indian students in America.

While no readouts were available of the meetings, barring his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the external affairs minister has tweeted about them.

About his meeting with the acting secretary of homeland security Kevin McAleenan, Jaishankar wrote on Twitter that they discussed “promoting lawful travel, ensuring flow of talent and protecting the interests of students”.

The “flow of talent” was a reference presumably to Indians travelling to the US on H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, a programme that has been under intense scrutiny of the Trump administration with increasing rejections and requests for more information, which make the process more time consuming and expensive.

The nature of the discussions about the “interests of students” could not be ascertained, but Indian officials have been disturbed by the targeting — “entrapment” — of Indian students by homeland security officials using fake universities such as the University of Farmington in Michigan in February.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a tweet he and Jaishankar discussed “military cooperation, regional security, technology and future opportunities for us to strengthen our bond”.

He added, the two countries “share mutual strategic values and interests, and there are many opportunities for an increased partnership.”

The external affairs minister’s last meeting was with National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. “A substantive meeting on key issues,” Jaishankar wrote. “Look forward to working with him.”

The minister’s first meeting was with Secretary of State Pompeo on Monday. The minister had told reporters after the meeting that the two sides had discussed trade — stressed the need for “early results” — other elements of the bilateral relationship and regional and global issues.

The state department said in a delayed readout of the meeting they had discussed the growing strategic relationship, “developments in Kashmir”, and global issues of concern.

They also discussed plans to advance their complementary visions of a free and open Indo-Pacific region following the successful Quadrilateral Consultations on the margins of the UN General Assembly last week, the state department added.