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“Neighbourhood first” Policy: India offers to link its growth with Sri Lanka

India is assisting Sri Lanka in a number of development projects, including health and education

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Sushma Swaraj. Image source: www.youtube.com
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NEW DELHI: In what can be called symbolic of its “neighbourhood first” policy, India has offered to link its growth story with southern neighbour Sri Lanka.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said this during a meeting with Sri Lankan Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama during his visit to New Delhi on July 4-5, it is reliably learnt.

According to sources, discussions between Sushma Swaraj and Samarawickrama focussed on the “neighbourhood first” policy of India .

“External Affairs Minister reiterated that India would like its economic growth trajectory to also lead to growth for Sri Lanka,” the sources said on Wednesday.

“Discussions with the External Affairs Minister reviewed the implementation of decisions taken at the ninth India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting for furthering trade, investment and developmental linkages between India and Sri Lanka,” the sources said.

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India is assisting Sri Lanka in a number of development projects, including health and education.

“There was agreement on creating an enabling environment for Indian industry to invest in Sri Lanka,” the sources said.

Malik Samarawickrama. Image source: coyle.lk
Malik Samarawickrama (in the centre). Image source: coyle.lk

It is learnt that both Sushma Swaraj and Samarawickrama agreed to encourage further momentum on projects between the two countries.

“The two ministers reviewed various projects, including the Sampur power plant, rehabilitation of Palaly airfield and Kankesanthurai harbour,” the sources said.

Sushma Swaraj also emphasised on the urgency of finding a permanent solution to the fishermen issue, recommended by the Joint Commission Meeting in February this year, 2016.

On Wednesday, July 6, Sri Lanka arrested 17 Indian fishermen for fishing in its maritime territories.

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The sources said both sides agreed that a meeting between the fishery ministries of the two countries should be held at the earliest. (IANS)

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  • Aparna Gupta

    It is a great step to strengthen the Indi-Sri Lanka bond. This will help both the nations.

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

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It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

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President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)