India-US ties have matured and become stronger: Jaitley

RSTV Bureau
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addresses Media Photo-PTI

File photo of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (Photo-PTI)

The US-India ties have significantly improved over the last few decades, becoming “stronger” and more “matured”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in Washington on Saturday.

Jaitley, speaking at a reception hosted by India’s Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna, said the Indian government is looking forward to working with the Trump Administration to strengthen the various dimensions of the bilateral ties.

“The US-India relationship over the last few decades has significantly improved. It is far stronger, far matured. It defied the changes in the government whether in the US or in India,” he said.

Stressing that India-US relationship has bipartisan support in both the countries, he said, “In one sense it is a bipartisan relationship. I am sure it would be a great privilege for us to continue with the new administration to strengthen the various dimensions of this relationship.

“There is a little more optimism this year than I have seen in the last three years. This seems to be the good news, as far as these meetings are concerned,” he said.

On Friday, Jaitley met US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the first cabinet-level interaction between the two countries under the Trump Administration.

In the meeting Jaitley strongly raised India’s concerns over the Trump administration’s move to tighten the H-1B visa regime, highlighting the key role played by Indian professionals in boosting the American economy.

President Donald Trump this week signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop its “abuse” and ensure that the visas are given to the “most-skilled or highest paid” petitioners, a decision that would impact India’s USD 150 billion IT industry.

Jaitley outlined the significant contributions the skilled Indian professionals have made to the US economy and expressed the hope that the US administration will take this aspect into consideration while taking any decision.

Jaitley landed in the US on April 20, to attend the annual Spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He is also scheduled to attend meetings of other multilateral forums including that of the G-20 finance ministers.

(With inputs from agencies)