Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar discusses terrorism, Afghanistan with US officials.

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US secretary of state Rex Tillerson shakes hands with foreign secretary S Jaishankar at the State Department in Washington. image courtesy : Hindustan Times

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar during his current visit to the US, discussed immigration,Afghanistan,terrorism and trade with senior US government officials, even as the latter expressed a very positive view of India and a keen interest in taking the two countries’ relationship forward, agencies reported.

“In a sense, we are (at) the continuity part of this relationship. ..In the meetings with the Secretary of the State (Rex Tillerson), with the national security advisor (HR McMaster), we discussed Asia-Pacific, Afghanistan. We discussed the challenge of terrorism,” said Jaishankar while addressing the media in Washington DC.

“The (US) Congress has been extraordinarily supportive of the growth of this relationship. Since there has been a change in the political landscape, we thought engaging them was something which was important,” Jaishankar said.

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The India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which was started under the previous Obama administration, will be held later this year, Jaishankar added. As well, dates were being worked out for an India visit by secretary of state Tillerson and commerce secretary Ross for the first such dialogue under the Trump administration.

Discussions with Secretary Ross were more focused on bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and with the Homeland Secretary, to some extent, issues related to immigration and also welfare of the Indians and Indian American community in the US were discussed.

Jaishankar’s discussions with the Homeland Secretary assume significance in the backdrop of the death of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed in a shooting by an American navy veteran.

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Jaishankar’s four-day visit to the U.S. aimed at sensitising the Trump administration over India’s concerns over the security of Indian nationals in the U.S. following a possible cut in H1B and L1 visas.

The India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which was started under the previous Obama administration, will be held later this year, Jaishankar added. As well, dates were being worked out for an India visit by secretary of state Tillerson and commerce secretary Ross for the first such dialogue under the Trump administration.

With Tillerson, the foreign secretary discussed the bilateral strategic relationship as well as the situation in Afghanistan and the Asia-Pacific region. Discussions with commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross were more focused on bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and with Homeland Secretary, to some extent, issues related to immigration and also welfare of the Indians and Indian American community in the US were discussed.

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While responding to a question on new targets and ambitions, Jaishankar said the current US administration looked interested in working with India in a number of areas. The Foreign Secretary also interacted with American business through the US-India Business Council.

“At this time a lot of it was conceptual. On the economic basket, we saw a very strong interest in growing our trade, increase in investment, in finding various ways of cooperating with each other,” he said.