PM Modi, President Trump discussed ‘spirit’ of H-1B visas without using the word: Sushma
While referring to the meeting between Modi and Trump last month in Washington, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said that "without using the word H-1B, there was extensive discussion" on the "spirit" behind such visas.
Answering questions in the Rajya Sabha over H-1B visa restrictions imposed by the US, Swaraj said that Trump has admitted that the contribution of the Indian professionals was benefitting both the countries and "if they (US) harm their (professionals') interests, then it will in turn affect them (US)."
"I take pride is saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi successfully convinced Trump to admit that Indian skilled professionals have a big contribution in strengthening the US economy," she told the House where Modi was present.
Swaraj said though the word H-1B was not used, the joint Indo-US statement issued after talks between Modi and Trump starts with "applauding" the contribution of Indian IT professionals.
Congress leader Anand Sharma and CPI-M's Tapan Kumar Sen wanted to know whether Modi specifically raised the issue of H-1B issue with Trump.
Sen said the spirit of the assurance on H-1B was not matching with the ground realities as IT companies were hiring in the US and laying off people in India.
Swaraj said she would make a detailed statement on the issue of H-1B visas in the House later.
Earlier, V Maitreyan (AIADMK) raised the issue of visas and asked the government to elaborate on the issue. He also welcomed Modi's visit to the US as also to Israel.
To another question from D Raja of CPI about India resorting to increased defence purchases from the US, Swaraj said the present government was the first since 1952 to take steps towards self-reliance in defence production, including by opening up the sector to 100 percent FDI.
"Earlier governments have come in, which you have also supported, did not take steps in this regard," the minister told Raja.
"Did any FDI come in? How will there be self-reliance? You need money, you need to set up factories. This is the first government that has allowed 100 percent FDI. The governments you supported never took steps towards self reliance," she said.