NEW DELHI – In first conversation with Donald Trump since the US president assumed the Oval Office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed India’s concerns on proposed changes to the H1B visa programme in United States.
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The US President also raised the issue of the South China Sea, and America’s interest in ensuring freedom of navigation in international waters claimed by the Chinese as their own, the New Indian Express quoted officials as saying.
“Pakistan also figured fleetingly as Modi raised the issue of cross-border terrorism as a challenge confronting India’s growth, and peace and security in the region.”
The issue was raised by Modi during their phone conversation at about 11.30 pm on January 24, with Trump responding that India’s views would be given “consideration”.
So far, India has not issued an official readout of the conversation, while the White House version did not mention these specific issues.
From the Indian side, Modi tweeted on January 25: “Had a warm conversation with President @realDonaldTrump late last evening. Have also invited President Trump to visit India.”
India is the largest beneficiary of the H1B visa programme for skilled professionals, as it bags almost 65 to 70 per cent of such visas issued by the US worldwide. China is a distant second at about eight per cent, according to the last available US government data from 2014.
Modi and Trump are likely to meet in July at the G-20 summit in Germany.
The phone call was the second conversation between the two, after Modi called Trump to congratulate him on his surprise victory.
Modi was the fifth foreign leader to receive a call from the new US President.