NEW YORK: India on Tuesday conveyed its concerns to the US on issues like H1B visa fee hike, export control restrictions and outsourcing ban during a meeting between the External Affairs Minister, Mr S M Krishna and his counterpart, Ms Hillary Clinton here.
"Our concerns have been raised and we have spoken our views about the risks inherent in protectionist trends that often detract from the positive impulses of cooperation in trade and economic interaction between the two countries," the foreign secretary, Ms Nirupama Rao, who was also present during the 30-minute Krishna-Clinton meeting, told reporters here.
"I think that was also understood by the US administration in our discussions and they were agreeable to the fact that we need to discuss these issues and try to resolve them," she said.
At the same time, Ms Rao underlined that the spat over the visa issue should be viewed as only a small part of a much larger relationship between the US and India.
"…The sum of the relationship is greater than its parts and what we have is growing strategic dialogue and growing partnership between the two countries," she said.
The Americans, on their part, also noted that in a large and complicated relationship there were bound to be some irritants.
"But I think what unites us is the fact that there is so much good and so much superb cooperation that is taking place, so I think that good common cooperation will help carry us through a lot of these irritants," the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, Mr Robert Blake, said.
On another contentious issue of export control of high-tech items to India, he noted that the "the US was looking to find a positive way forward. We are not quite there yet. So we need to continue to work on that. And again I am confident of a positive outcome."
Mr Blake further pointed out that there is "goodwill" on both sides to resolve all these irritants. "So I’m confident that we’re going to be able to work our way through these."
Mr Krishna and Ms Clinton also described the President, Mr Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to India in November as "a defining moment in the history of our bilateral relations," he said.
During their meeting, the two leaders discussed several other issues including Afghanistan, floods in Pakistan, climate change talks, Indo-US nuclear cooperation and sanctions on Iran.
Mr Blake further said that the Obama administration realised that "everyone had a stake in India’s emergence as a global power" and described the "reciprocal visit" of Mr Obama as "momentous and consequential". The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh was Mr Obama’s first state guest last year.
The top US official termed the Krishna-Clinton meeting as "very friendly and useful" .
Mr Blake, who said the UN Security Council reform would be discussed during Mr Obama’s upcoming India visit, did not indicate which way the US was leaning, and only pointed out that the reforms were "under discussion".
During her meeting with Mr Krishna, Ms Clinton thanked India for its commitment to Afghanistan and the developmental assistance it had provided.
The two leaders also agreed that New Delhi and Washington needed to work closely on climate change-related issues ahead of a conference in Cancun at the end of the year.
Ms Clinton told Mr Krishna the US felt that the sanctions against Iran were working and hoped that the international community would support these curbs.
Commenting on Indo-Pak ties, Mr Blake said there were bound to be "irritants" in the "complicated relationship" shared by India and Pakistan.
His comments came days after the Pakistan Foreign Minister, Mr Shah Mahmood Qureshi called for the US intervention on Kashmir.
Mr Blake, however, noted that the Kashmir issue was not discussed at the Krishna-Clinton meeting.
Mr Blake and the US under secretary of state for political affairs, Mr William Burns will be visiting India before Mr Obama’s first presidential trip to the country.