U.S. looking at free trade agreement with India

U.S. looking at free trade agreement with India

US Ambassador Kenneth Juster put forward the suggestions in his first policy address on India-US relations in New Delhi on Thursday. "We have four million Indian-Americans in the US". "It will increase our economic interactions and volume of trade, lead to collaboration on emerging technologies, and create jobs in both countries", he said. "We are working with partners to secure India's Nuclear Suppliers Group membership", Juster said describing India as a "leading power" in the Indo-Pacific region.

"Increased heft in our economic relationship would necessarily provide a broader and deeper, long-term US commitment to India and the Indo-Pacific region".

Allaying fears of a probable change in the visa regulations that could affect around 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders and could even lead to them being deported, American Ambassador Kenneth Juster assured on January 11 that the United States will continue to be a country of immigrants and that will not change. Insisting that the United States will remain committed to the region, Juster then laid down the five pillars that he believed could provide the framework for the partnership.

United States ambassador to India Kenneth Juster on Thursday called for strengthening economic ties between the world's oldest and largest democracies, which he said, would result in greater U.S. commitment to India and the Indo-Pacific region and help iron out any major differences that may crop up between the two.

"Over time, we should expand officer exchanges at our war colleges and our training facilities, and even at some point post reciprocal military liaison officers at our respective combatant commands, " he said.

Bilateral trade has increased from approximately $ 20 billion in 2001 to $ 115 billion in 2016. "President Trump and other USA leaders have been clear that we will not tolerate cross-border terrorism or terrorist safe havens anywhere", he said.

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"We want to promote respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, guarantee freedom of navigation overflight and commerce and other lawful uses of the sea, ensure territorial and maritime disputes are resolved peacefully consistent with worldwide laws", he added. He pointed out that India's constant growth means that its energy needs are going to be substantial in the near future. "India can seize this strategic opportunity through trade & investment to become an alternative hub for USA business in Indo-Pacific region".

When asked about Sino-US ties, Juster noted, "We are interested in a constructive relationship". He spoke specifically about Afghanistan and emphasised the need to eliminate its reputation as a safe haven for terrorists.

Juster, however, made no reference to Pakistan in his speech.

"Don't think we will get stability in Afghanistan if Pakistan does not positively contribute. But we also want to make it clear that if they are going to be engaged in certain predatory economic behaviour or other activities than there's an alternative set of principles that other countries of the region are going to follow", he said.

"The United States will remain committed to this region - as we are to the rules-based global order - because our future is inextricably linked to it", he said.

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