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Obama administration strives to resolve visa row

Agencies | Last Modified - Aug 12, 2010, 11:38 AM IST

Aware of the potential of the visa row impacting Indo-US ties adversely, the Obama administration strives to resolve the dispute.
  • Obama administration strives to resolve visa row
    Obama administration strives to resolve visa row


    obama_01Well aware that the visa row could have a direct impact on the fast growing economic ties with India, the Obama Administration has swung into action to initiate talks with the leaders at the Capitol Hill and the business community over the issue.

    But there is no unanimity within the Obama Administration on this issue that has the potential to jeopardise Indo-US business ties, officials privy to the discussion said.


    Corporate America had warned that the passage of the Border Security Bill, which seeks to fund enhanced security measures along the US-Mexico border by raising fees for certain category of visas, would undermine the growing economic relationship between the two countries.

    A senior Obama Administration official noted that this is "not a done deal yet" and the government is looking at it in depth to resolve the issue by talking with the leaders of the Congress, the business community and those within the government.

    Another official said several people in the Obama Administration and the Congress are uncomfortable with the funding measure of the Bill, which essentially attacks the Indian companies.

    But given the prevailing mood in the country on the eve of crucial mid-term election, they do not want to be seen in anyway opposing a measure which is strengthening border security, the official observed.

    The main focus of the controversial bill is on strengthening security along the Mexico border. Because immigration has become a major issue in Southern States and there is also the unemployment dimension, nobody wants to be seen to be acting against such a measure, official noted.

    Some US analysts have also pointed out that the real problem for US trade and unemployment is China, but because the economic and financial nexus with Bejing is so strong that there is essentially some kind of a fear of taking on China.

    Hence, a soft and friendlier target India appears to have been hit.

    The US would not like to have any adverse impact on the Indo-US economic ties given that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has emphasised on the importance of building on the economic relationship between the two countries, officials said.

    The new Bill imposes substantial and discriminatory fee increases on global information services companies that utilise temporary, non-immigrant visas (H-1 and L-1) to bring in skilled professionals to serve American companies, he said, adding the USIBC hopes amendments will excise these harmful provisions.

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