In his first visit to the US after the new administration took over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks with President Donald Trump on June 26 on a range of issues, including India's concerns over possible changes in H1B visa rules.
Announcing the visit from June 25, the External Affairs Ministry today said the Modi-Trump discussions will provide a new direction for a deeper bilateral engagement. This will be the first meeting between the two leaders, the ministry added.
"Prime Minister will hold official talks with President Trump on June 26. Their discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement on issues of mutual interest and consolidation of multi-dimensional strategic partnership between India and the US," the ministry said.
During her annual press conference last week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said Modi will raise the issue with Trump. Almost 1.8 million H-1B visas have been distributed in fiscal years 2001 through 2015, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. From fiscal years 2001 to 2015, workers from India received the largest share (50.5 percent) of all H-1B visas for first-time employment.
Regional security situation including Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and other international issues are expected to figure prominently during the meeting of the two leaders. Apart from ways to enhance trade and business cooperation, the two leaders are also expected to discuss defence ties. US Defence Secretary James Mattis has already made it clear that his country recognises India "as a major defence partner partly out of respect for New Delhi's indispensable role in maintaining stability in the Indian Ocean region".
The US is exploring new ways to address new challenges as well from maritime security to the growing threat posed by the spread of terrorism in Southeast Asia, Mattis had said.
Modi's visit also comes in the backdrop of Trump announcing withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate deal and saying, "India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions of dollars from developed countries."
Strongly rejecting Trump's contention, India had asserted it signed the Paris agreement not under duress or for lure of money but due to its commitment to protect environment.