The issues related to the H-1B visa may come up during bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump next week, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said today. He said five memorandums of understanding are under discussion and could be signed by the two sides.
Mr Trump, accompanied by wife Melania Trump and a high-level delegation, will arrive in Ahmedabad around noon on February 24 for a little less than 36-hour-long trip. From Ahmedabad, he will travel to Agra before arriving at the national capital for the main leg of the visit, news agency PTI reported.
The US government is reportedly considering placing restrictions on the acceptance of H-1B visa applications. News agency Reuters had last year reported that the US told India it was considering caps on H-1B work visas for countries that force foreign companies to store data locally. Mr Kumar had then said India didn't have an official confirmation in this regard.
There is no country-specific limit on the 85,000 H-1B work visas that the United States grants each year, and an estimated 70% of them go to Indians. However, the Reuters report had said the US was planning to cap the temporary work visas to only 10-15 per cent Indians.
The H-1B visa issue has been discussed between Indian and the United States several times in the past. In December last year, during the 2+2 dialogue in Washington, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had stressed on the importance of people-to-people ties, saying they were the defining elements of India-US friendship.
The India-US trade ties have been strained ever since the two sides engaged in a tariff war last year. Ahead of his India visit, Donald Trump said he hasn't been treated well by India on the trade front.
Responding to his remark, Mr Kumar today said the context in which the remarks were made was balance of trade and there have been efforts to address the concerns.
President Trump will address the ''Namaste Trump'' event jointly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the newly built Motera cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.
After the event, the US President and the First Lady will visit Agra, where they will spend about an hour at the Taj Mahal before the sunset. President Trump will then depart for Delhi, where he will hold talks with PM Modi.
With inputs from agencies