India-US ties progressing under Trump administration: Swaraj

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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said India-US ties are progressing under the Trump administration as they were during the Obama presidency and the pace had not slowed down.

Addressing a press conference on key initiatives of her ministry in three years of the Modi government, Swaraj also described the proposed changes in H1B visas as a “matter of concern”.

She said the government was engaged with the Donald Trump administration as well as US Congressmen on the issue and was “alert” to any possible negative impact.

The matter will also figure during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, she said, but did not give the date of his travel. Modi is expected to visit the country by the month-end.

Some of the other major points made by Swaraj during the press interaction are —

1) India to raise airspace violation issue with China after Chinese choppers flew over Chamoli district.

2) India opposed China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project as it violated India’s sovereignty which was not acceptable.

China will be forced to rethink as other countries while participating in the OBOR meet, conveyed their view on territorial integrity and sovereignty.

3) India is also involved in various connectivity projects, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative, the Bangladesh China India Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation (BCIM) and Chahbahar port in Iran, but goes by principles on maintenance of territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries.

4) India wants countries which back its bid for NSG membership and are friends with China, to talk to Beijing on the issue.

5) India’s NSG membership to be credential-based and not criteria-based.

6) India wants to resolve all issues with Pakistan bilaterally, but talks and terror cannot go together. No flip-flop in India’s policy on Pakistan.

7) Pakistan can’t take Kashmir issue to International Court of Justice (ICJ). Kashmir can only be resolved bilaterally.

8) Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, cutting ties with Qatar is an internal matter of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). India is only ascertaining if any of its nationals are getting adversely impacted by it.

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