India on Tuesday conveyed its concerns to the U.S. on issues like H1B visa fee hike, export control restrictions and outsourcing ban during a meeting between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his counterpart Hillary Clinton here.
“Our concerns have been raised and we have spoken our views about the risks inherent in protectionist trends that often detract from the positive impulses of cooperation in trade and economic interaction between the two countries,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who was also present during the 30-minute meeting, told reporters here.
“I think that was also understood by the U.S. administration in our discussions and they were agreeable to the fact that we need to discuss these issues and try to resolve them,” she said.
At the same time, Ms. Rao underlined that the spat over the visa issue should be viewed as only a small part of a much larger relationship between the U.S. and India.
“...The sum of the relationship is greater than its parts and what we have is growing strategic dialogue and growing partnership between the two countries,” she said.
The Americans, on their part, also noted that in a large and complicated relationship there were bound to be some irritants.
“But I think what unites us is the fact that there is so much good and so much superb cooperation that is taking place, so I think that good common cooperation will help carry us through a lot of these irritants,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, said.
On another contentious issue of export control of high-tech items to India, he noted that the “the U.S. was looking to find a positive way forward. We are not quite there yet. So we need to continue to work on that. And again I am confident of a positive outcome.”
Mr. Blake further pointed out that there is “goodwill” on both sides to resolve all these irritants. “So I’m confident that we’re going to be able to work our way through these.”
Mr. Krishna and Ms. Clinton also described President Barack Obama’s visit to India in November as “a defining moment in the history of our bilateral relations,” he said.
During their meeting, the two leaders discussed several other issues including Afghanistan, floods in Pakistan, climate change talks, India-U.S. nuclear cooperation and sanctions on Iran.
Mr. Blake further said that the Obama administration realised that “everyone had a stake in India’s emergence as a global power” and described the “reciprocal visit” of Mr. Obama as “momentous and consequential”. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was Mr. Obama’s first state guest last year.