Highlights: Requested US secy of state Tillerson not to take action that may adversely impact Indians with H-1B visas, says Swaraj

Tillerson’s visit comes after the US government announced a new Afghan policy in August, envisaging greater role for India.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2017 15:01 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rex Tillerson,Rex Tillerson in India,Rex Tillerson Susham Swaraj meeting
SushmaSwaraj and US secretary of state Rex Tillerson discussed bilateral, regional and global issues to further strengthen bonds of friendship on Wednesday.(Photo tweeted by @MEAIndia )

The US secretary of state Rex Tillerson interacted with Indian leadership on Wednesday as Washington and New Delhi set to expand their strategic ties in South Asia and Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region. Tillerson held discussions with his counterpart Sushma Swaraj.

Here are the highlights from the joint briefing:

2:01pm: Sushma Swaraj says there has been no change in the United State’s policy on H1-B visas. We are in talks with the US so that Indian professionals are not affected, says Swaraj.

1:59pm: We had a discussion with Pakistani leadership yesterday (Tuesday), says Tillerson, replying to a question. We are concerned about the stability of Pakistan, he says, adding militant networks in Pakistan are also a threat to Islamabad.

1:51pm: India and the US look forward to a brighter future, says Tillerson.

1:51pm: India is crucial to USA-Afghanistan strategy, says Tillerson.

1:49pm: Terror safe havens won’t be tolerated, says Tilerson.

1:48pm: US acknowledges India’s rise, says Tillerson. The US secretary of state talks about military cooperation with India.

1:48pm: India and US are natural allies. They stand shoulder to shoulder against terror, says Tillerson.

1:45pm: We also discussed the important contribution of Indians working in the USA on H1B visa, says Swaraj after meeting Tillerson. Swaraj says she requested Tillerson not to take action that may adversely impact Indians.

1:44pm: India, US, Afghanistan trilateral meeting to be held in December, says Swaraj.

1:42pm: President Trump’s policy on terrorism can only succeed when Pakistan takes action on terror groups, says Swaraj.

1:42pm: India, US think that Pakistan should take quick steps to destroy safe havens for terrorists, says Swaraj.

The two sides are expected to come up with a timeline for the 2 plus 2 dialogue mechanism (foreign minister and defence ministers of both sides) to take the ties forward.

Tillerson is visiting India after he made a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan. This visit comes after the US government announced a new Afghan policy in August, envisaging greater role for India while faulting Pakistan for not walking the talk on reining in terror outfits. But the Trump administration mellowed its position after Pakistan authorities rescued a US-Canadian couple this month. Though the previous US administrations also talked tough on Pakistan, it did not yield much result as Islamabad remained a key ally of Washington in the region.

In Islamabad, Tillerson “reiterated President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country”, according to a statement from the US embassy.

India blames Pakistan for providing safe havens for terrorists that destabilise Afghanistan as well as the region. The two sides are expected to reiterate their commitment to fight terrorism in the region and step up their cooperation with Afghanistan.

Ahead of his visit, Tillerson said the US policy in Indo-Pacific is closely linked to India. In an address to a US think tank, Tillerson had called India and the US “the two bookends of stability” and said that while China has risen, it “has done so less responsibly”.

First Published: Oct 25, 2017 09:54 IST