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Indians welcome Modi in US, hope for positive outcome on H-1B visas

Narendra Modi arrived in Washington on Sunday for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump as part of a three-nation, four-day tour.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2017 18:45 IST
Press Trust of India, Washington
Narendra Modi,Modi in US,Donald Trump
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, right, stand together after being given ceremonial shawls during a visit to the Radha Krishna Temple in Lisbon. Modi visited Portugal in the first leg of his three-nation tour -- before heading for the US.(AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Sunday warmly greeted by a group of people from the Indian community who were waiting for him outside a high-security hotel in Washington where he is staying.

Modi was welcomed with loud cheers and applause by the community members, who hoped that the PM would raise with US President Donald Trump pressing issues related to the H-1B work visa, terrorism and defence cooperation.

As Modi’s motorcade pulled up in front of Willard InterContinental Hotel where the Prime Minister will be staying during his three-day visit, the crowd of Indians gathered outside, burst into a huge applause behind a barricade and started chanting ‘Modi, Modi’.

Before entering the hotel, the Indian leader got out of his vehicle and walked across the road to the cheering crowd, smiling and waving at it. After stopping briefly in front of the crowd, Modi, surrounded by Indian and American security officials, walked back towards his motorcade.

Among those waiting to catch a glimpse of Modi was Mridula, originally from Hyderabad, and working in New York on an H-1B visa.

“We hope that the outcome on the issue is positive for Indians and at the same time does not anger Americans as well. It is scary when we hear reports of attacks against Indians in the US,” she told PTI.

Modi “is a very powerful leader and I am sure something very positive on the H-1B visa is going to come out of his meeting with Trump”, she said.

Avinash Bilugu, another H-1B visa holder working in Albany, echoed the concerns over the work visas.

“This is a major issue for us. I hope Modi brings it up in his meeting with Trump. Defence and security are other important issues that the two leaders should discuss,” he said.

The Trump administration has said that if the Indian side raises the contentious H-1B visa issue during President Trump’s meeting with Modi, the Americans were ready to respond.

Trump signed an executive order in April for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop “visa abuses”. Trump said his administration is going to enforce ‘Hire American’ rules that are designed to protect jobs and wages of workers in the US.

Trump will host Modi at the White House on Monday and the two leaders would spend about five hours together in various settings beginning with their bilateral discussion, delegation level talks, a reception and a working dinner, the first of its kind hosted by this administration.

Modi will also interact with about 20 leading American CEOs followed by an Indian-American community event in Washington DC suburb of Virginia.

The programme is likely to be attended by about 600 members of the community.

First Published: Jun 25, 2017 10:56 IST