India, US can announce major pacts in intelligence, fighter

US ambassador Kenneth Juster says'America First and'Make in India are incompatible

US ambassador Kenneth Juster says'America First and'Make in India are incompatible

The US will continue to be a country of immigrants and that will not change, newly appointed American envoy to India Kenneth Juster said on Thursday while asserting that the ongoing review of visas, including the H-1B category, was only for "refinements". "Accordingly, some companies are downgrading their operations there, while others are looking with great interest at alternative markets". He also said that "America First" and "Make in India" are not incompatible, and that the two countries should invest in each other's markets as it will be mutually beneficial.

Talking about the Indo-Pacific region, the envoy said that the US National Security Strategy recognises India as a leading power in region and beyond. We can advance these objectives in several ways, which we expect to discuss this spring in our new 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue and incorporate in a roadmap to drive action on both sides, " said Juster.

The US government is planning a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India in an effort to boost two-way trade that now stands at $115 billion. Talking about India's NSG bid, he said, "We are working with partners to secure India's Nuclear Suppliers Group membership".

On the issue of H-1B visas, Juster said while the U.S. 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. Shifting focus to the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to stop the financial aid to Pakistan, Kenneth Juster said, "That was really major impetus in suspending security assistance to Pakistan because we feel they have not done all that they could to try to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan that are contributing to the unrest in Afghanistan". On China and the new global philosophy, Juster said, "Our strategy in the Indo-Pacific is an affirmative strategy. we want to have a constructive relationship with every country in the region. with mutual respect, that does not infringe on the sovereignty of other countries. we want to have a constructive relationship with the Chinese".

Praising Indians, he said 33 per cent of all immigrant-founded start-ups in the United States have Indian founders.

"Over time, we should expand officer exchanges at our war colleges and our training facilities, and even at some point post reciprocal military liaison officers at our respective combatant commands, " he said.

Pivoting to science and technology, Juster called them the fourth pillar of the relationship and noted collaborations between ISRO and NASA as well as the joint strides in medical innovation. But he nevertheless underlined the important role that Pakistan too has in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Mr. "But if they engage in predatory economic policy and other things, there would be reactions".

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