Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

USA sees India an alternative hub for business to China

US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster. Under the India-US nuclear deal Washington had assured support to India’s NSG membership. India entered the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Wassenaar Agreement in 2016 and 2017 respectively 'America First' & 'Make in India' won't align perfectly, but co-op will grow: New US envoy
Melinda Barton | 13 January, 2018, 08:28

The United States Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster on Thursday said the country might tweak its visa processes, but it would not put skilled workers from India at a disadvantage. One is Afghanistan, where we both have a strong interest in promoting peace, security and prosperity.

India, he said, could take advantage of this situation "to become an alternative hub for United States business in the Indo-Pacific region".

"India can seize the strategic opportunity through trade and investment to become an alternative hub for U.S. business in the Indo-Pacific region", he said, delivering a policy speech, the first since he took over as Ambassador to India in November.

Outlining US President Donald Trump's agenda for India, Jester said the US is also working "very closely" with global partners to secure India's Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, even as he hoped that New Delhi would join the Australia Group on chemical and biological weapons in the "very near future".

India is a "leading power" in the Indo-Pacific and should gear up to become an alternative manufacturing destination to China to attract US business, said USA ambassador to India Kenneth Juster. "I don't think we are going to get stability and security in Afghanistan if Pakistan does not contribute positively to that". These would be commands like India's Andaman Nicobar Command or the Pacific Command of the US. After membership to the Wassenaar Arrangement and MTCR, Juster said, India would "very soon" become a member of the Australia Group. "And we are working closely with India and our global partners to secure India's membership in the NSG", Juster said while adding the U.S., at the same time, has gone from a restrictive policy regarding the export of dual-use items to India to a much more liberal one. "This would complement our growing defence and counter-terrorism partnership, and moderate any policy differences that might arise along the way", Juster said.

Juster, who was speaking at an event in the national capital today, also allayed Indian concerns about reports of a further tightening in the H1B visa regime, in line with president Trump's "America First" policy. "And we are working closely with India and our global partners to secure India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group", he said.

"Pakistan is also important to situation in Afghanistan. We need to continue to enhance the sharing of information, designations of terrorists, combating of financial crimes and networks, and disruption and dismantling of terrorist camps and operations, both regionally and globally", Juster said. The US envoy in particular emphasised on India's role in Indo-Pacific region and opportunities in economic partnership.

On the issue of H-1B visas, Juster said while the USA continues to attract the largest number of immigrants into the country, it plans to address some of the "fundamental issues" into the various categories of their visa regime. Juster replied, saying that the Trump administration would not tolerate "safe havens for terrorists anywhere" or "cross-border terrorism".