India voices concern over curbs on US business visas

India voices concern over curbs on US business visas

Voicing Indian businesses' concern over new US restrictions imposed on H1-B and L1 visas, New Delhi has expressed the hope this trend will not be sustained in keeping with the "logic and rationale" of India-US partnership.

India and the US should be working towards having one of the world's largest trading relationships, India's ambassador Nirupama Rao said Wednesday, citing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comment that there is much more potential to unleash in the two nations' economic partnership.

Noting that a key aspect of India-US economic engagement is partnerships in high technology areas, Rao voiced the increasing concern among Indian businesses about the difficulties they face due to progressively stringent visa regulations.

"The Indian IT industry contributed $15 billion in taxes in the US over the last five years," Rao told the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, ahead of India-US strategic dialogue here June 13.

"Ironically, the same industry is subject to new restrictions imposed on H1-B and L1 visas," the ambassador said. "We hope this is not a trend that will be sustained. The logic and rationale of our partnership merits otherwise."

"We also hope as our investments flows further increase, it would also become easier for Indian financial institutions to expand their operations in the US," Rao said. As India and US "look at ways and means to expand our trade and investment, we are also working together to find solutions to the challenges of clean energy, food security, health, education" through various initiatives, she said.

"As we upgrade our infrastructure, provide for clean and sustainable sources of energy to power our economic growth and modernize our agriculture to improve the livelihood of our rural population there will be tremendous opportunities for US businesses," Rao said.

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