US lawmakers to visit India next week

US lawmakers to visit India next week
Twenty-seven US lawmakers will visit India next week as New Delhi relies more on American Congress in the wake of immigration reforms and foreign policy changes by Donald Trump administration.

A delegation of 19 US lawmakers will visit New Delhi and Hyderabad next week under the auspices of Aspen Institute, a think-tank based in Washington DC.

Another delegation of eight US Congressmen, led by Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee, will visit New Delhi and Bengaluru around the same time. The visiting US Congressmen will meet Union Ministers, Members of Parliament, academicians and industry leaders.

Some of them may also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, if he could spare time from his hectic campaign schedule in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, sources told the DH.

New Delhi is highlighting the visit of such a large number of Democrat and Republican members of Senate and House of Representatives within the span of a week as a demonstration of “bipartisan support in American Congress for strong India-US relations”.

George Holding, Republican Chair of India Caucus in US House, will be among the US lawmakers visiting India.

So will be Hank Johnson of the Democratic Party. The US lawmakers will be visiting India less than a month after Donald Trump took over as the new American President, promising an ‘America First’ foreign policy.

Even as the Trump Administration’s early move to bring in tough anti-immigrant measures triggered uproar within the US, India is particularly concerned about the fate of Indian Information Technology professionals working in America.

New Delhi is closely monitoring not only the executive orders issued by the Trump Administration to restrict entry of immigrants into the US, but also the legislative moves in American Congress to bring in protectionist measures. A bill sponsored by California Republican Representative Darrell Issa is now under review of American House of Representatives.

‘Protect and grow jobs’

The bill – known as ‘Protect and Grow American Jobs Act” - will require US companies to pay high-skilled foreign workers hired under the ‘exempt’ category of the H-1B visa program at least $ 100,000 a year, 40% more than the current minimum of $ 60,000.

This will make it difficult for Indian IT companies to send professionals to US on H-1B visas. New Delhi will convey to the visiting US lawmakers that India’s IT professionals and IT companies contributed to the competitiveness of America’s economy, sources said.

India will also rely on American Congress to stop US from supplying advanced military hardware and weapon-systems to Pakistan, as well as to block flow of aids, which the neighbouring country is accused of misusing to fund terror strikes in India and Afghanistan.
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