Swaraj raises issue of terrorism, H-1B with US secretary of state Rex Tillerson

23 September 2017

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday raised the issue of terrorism and H-1B visas with US secretary of state Rex Tillerson as the two leaders met for the first time in a bilateral setting.

According to officials, Swaraj and Tillerson who met on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session, also discussed strengthening of the US-India political and economic partnership.

"The secretary thanked the minister for India's contributions to stability and development in Afghanistan and the region," state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, following the meeting.

"They discussed further strengthening the US-India political and economic partnership," she added.

Swaraj also raised the issue of H1-B visa, with Tillerson, which is most sought by Indian IT professionals.

The H-1B visa policy is currently under review of the Trump administration as it thinks that the visa is being misused by companies to replace US workers.

"The two ministers discussed regional issues, with a focus of Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He added all aspects of bilateral relationship, including expanding trade and investment relations, were discussed during the talks. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was also discussed during the talks.

President Donald Trump this month scrapped an amnesty programme that granted work permits to immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children. The move could affect 800,000 undocumented workers, including thousands of Indian- Americans.

Meanwhile, Swaraj is all set to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today.

Swaraj is expected to take on Pakistan over terrorism and Kashmir issue.

The external affairs minister had earlier also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while addressing a meeting of foreign ministers of member nations on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

"India strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There can be no justification for any acts of terrorism," Swaraj had said.

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