Kenneth Juster policy speech: Newly US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster has spoken on an array of issues. In his first policy speech since taking over as ambassador, Juster laid out the Trump administration's agenda for India and emphasised that the US will not tolerate "cross-border terrorism" or terror safe havens.
Kenneth Juster policy speech: Newly US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster has spoken on an array of issues. In his first policy speech since taking over as ambassador, Juster laid out the Trump administration’s agenda for India and emphasised that the US will not tolerate “cross-border terrorism” or terror safe havens. From H1B visa, India’s NSG membership, nuclear issue to economy, Juster has addressed all the issues.
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The US will continue to be a country of immigrants and that will not change, newly-appointed American envoy Kenneth Juster said yesterday while asserting that the ongoing review of visas, including the H-1B category, was only for “refinements”. Juster’s comments came in the backdrop of reports that the Trump administration was considering tightening H-1B visa rules that could lead to deportation of about 750,000 Indians. The US government, however, has denied these reports.
“We have 4 million Indian-Americans in the US. So we are country of immigrants and that’s what helped drive our economy and growth and made us where we are and that’s not going to change,” he said while delivering his first policy speech since taking over as ambassador. He added that the US is looking at how various categories of visas are working and whether they need refinements. “We take more immigrants then any other country in the world,” he added.
Every year, the US grants 85,000 H-1B visas to highly skilled applicants, including roughly 70 per cent for Indians, seeking employment and educational opportunities. According to the National Foundation for American Policy, more than half of privately-held companies worth USD 1 billion or more in the US had at least one immigrant founder, with many entering America on an H-1B visa, including the CEOs of both Microsoft and Google.
The US is working “very closely” with international partners to secure India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, Juster said today and hoped that New Delhi would join the Australia Group on chemical and biological weapons in the “very near future”.
India has been seeking entry into the 48-member elite nuclear club, which controls nuclear trade, but China has repeatedly stonewalled its bid. Juster acknowledged that the US and India faced challenging and complicated issues related to the transfer of sensitive US technology with both military and conventional applications. “India sought increased access to this technology, while the US wanted to ensure that any transfers would be used solely by the designated recipients for the agreed-upon purposes.
“This required a sophisticated system of export controls, which India, candidly, did not have at the time,” Juster said in his first policy speech since taking over as the US ambassador to India. The initial interactions on the subject were “quite formal and somewhat strained due to the wide gulf” in the positions of the two nations, Juster acknowledged. He said the US had moved from a restrictive policy on the export of dual-use items to India to a much more “liberal one”. “Look how far we have come,” he said, citing India’s membership in two of the four multilateral export control regimes -– the Wassenaar Arrangement on dual-use items, and the Missile Technology Control Regime. “We also expect India to join the Australia Group on chemical and biological weapons in the very near future. And, we are working closely with India and our international partners to secure India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” he said.
The United States sees India as a “leading power” in the Indo-Pacific region, Juster said yesterday.
A major part of Juster’s speech was on ways to enhance economic and commercial relations. He also underlined that the US is concerned about persistent trade deficits with India.
He stated that a number of US companies have reported “increasing difficulties” in conducting business in China. Accordingly, some companies are downgrading their operations there, while others are looking with great interest at alternative markets. “India can seize the strategic opportunity – through trade and investment – to become an alternative hub for US business in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said, adding that Trump’s poll slogan ‘America First’ and the Centre’s flagship initiative ‘Make in India’ are not incompatible.