PM Modi in U.S.: Pak-sponsored terrorism, H1B Visa to be discussed, says CFR official

| Updated: Jun 25, 2017 09:47 IST

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], June 25 (ANI): Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled meeting with United States President Donald Trump, senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Alyssa Ayres on Sunday said that a first in-person interaction is essential to bring a good chemistry between the two leaders as both Washington and New Delhi are concerned about terrorism emanating from Pakistan. "I think it's important for Modi and Trump to meet to have that first in-person interaction. There won't be any huge announcements, but the meeting is important for building rapport. Chemistry between the leaders is important when it comes to deciding foreign policies," Ayres told ANI. "Both the U.S. and India are concerned about the challenge of terrorism. Certainly, Obama cared about this issue and asked Pakistan to make the right choice that benefits the region, but that did not happen. Many in the U.S. Congress, who have served in Afghanistan have seen that problem of terrorism emanating from Pakistan is harmful for all of us. Trump administration official McMaster, who visited Afghanistan, Pakistan and India gave a firm statement that Islamabad, which has even failed to stop terror-funding, needs to tackle all forms of terrorism," she added. Ayres, who served as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia during 2010-2013, added that while there will surely be discussions on the H1B Visa issue, chances of it getting solved were dim. "The H1B Visa issue will be discussed, but definitely won't be sorted out, because in the U.S. you cannot change overnight. A new law is needed from the Congress and that change cannot happen," she asserted. Specifically pointing out that India is not an ally of the United States, Ayres said, "We have seen a lot of ups and downs with the way the new President (Trump) has approached his ties with traditional U.S. allies. India is not a traditional ally of the U.S. In fact, India is not an ally of the United States," adding, "I don't think there is any preconceived approach to India. This is my impression so far. Trump is trying to put together its strategy for Asia and South Asia and to see where India fits in that." Ayres also said that Trump sees New Delhi as a major market economic power, adding that the importance of China and India is undeniable as far as U.S.' ties with Asia are concerned. Earlier, Trump announced that he has important issues to discuss with his 'true friend' Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ahead of Modi reaching Washington D.C. for a state visit, the President tweeted, "Look forward to welcoming India's PM Modi to @WhiteHouse on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!" United States Senator Kamala Harris also welcomed Prime Minister Modi through a tweet. "I welcome Indian PM @NarendraModi to the United States and reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our two nations," she tweeted. Prime Minister Modi, who would be reaching Washington D.C. in a few hours, would be the first world leader to have a working dinner with Trump at the White House on Monday. Speaking ahead of the visit, India's Ambassador to the U.S. Navtej Sarna said that Prime Minister Modi and President Trump would discuss crucial issues such as counter-terrorism, security and cyber security. The upcoming meeting, which is deemed to be one that can significantly strengthen bilateral relations between the two democracies, will also include an interactive session with the Indian-American community as well as 20-odd top CEOs in Washington. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that he is expecting a very robust discussion to take place between the two leaders. (ANI)