US will continue to be a country of immigrants: Juster
US will continue to be a country of immigrants: Juster
'Pak's contribution needed to stabilise situation in Afghanistan'
13 January, 2018, 01:30
Taking the podium for the first time after his elevation as the US Ambassador to India, Kenneth Justeroutlined an agenda for India-US ties that he himself described as "ambitious". Interestingly, he said that "America First" and "Make in India" are not incompatible.
The speech on Thursday was organised by the think-tank Carnegie India.
Juster, who was earlier Under Secretary at the US Commerce Department, urged India to take advantage of its growing ties with the US and transform itself as an alternative hub for US business in the Indo-Pacific region. Accordingly, some companies are downgrading their operations there, while others are looking with great interest in alternative markets. After the nuclear deal and the growing defence and strategic relations between India and US, Juster believes the next big thing in the US-India relationship would be in the economic sphere, now the most troubled spot in bilateral relations. "Of course, given the size of our respective markets, there is still a plenty of room to expand the flow of goods and services in both directions and, in the process, for trade to become more reciprocal", he said.
The US government is planning a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India in an effort to boost two-way trade that now stands at $115 billion.
"With that in mind, perhaps in the next year we can announce major agreements enabling cooperation in areas such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms; fighter aircraft production and co-development of next generation systems, including a Future Vertical Lift platform or Advanced Technology Ground Combat Vehicles", Juster said.
Under the Indo-US nuclear deal, Washington had assured support to India's candidature in the NSG and the MTCR.
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The US regards India as a "leading power" in the Indo-Pacific region and declared it would not tolerate cross-border terrorism or safe havens for terror.
On the issue of H-1B visas, Juster said while the USA continues to attract the largest number of immigrants into the country, it plans to address some of the "fundamental issues" into the various categories of their visa regime.
India and the United States have been vocal about containing the terror in Afghanistan and spreading harmony in the nation, and the 63-year-old U.S. diplomat shed light on Pakistan's role achieving that.
The US envoy took to the occasion to state that the increased heft in our economic relationship would necessarily provide a broader and deeper, long-term USA commitment to India and the Indo-Pacific region. He said that any deportation concerns among the NRI's living in the United States were unfounded.
Pivoting to science and technology, Juster called them the fourth pillar of the relationship and noted collaborations between ISRO and NASA as well as the joint strides in medical innovation.
"I don't think we are going to get stability and security in Afghanistan if Pakistan does not contribute positively to that. But if they engage in predatory economic policy and other things, there would be reactions".
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