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United States sees India an alternative hub for business to China
13 January 2018, 01:32 | Devin Moran
'America First' & 'Make in India' won't align perfectly, but co-op will grow: New US envoy
The ambassador said US President Donald Trump's "America First" programme and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government's "Make in India" policy are not incompatible. A number of USA companies have reported increasing difficulties conducting business in the largest market in the region - China. Accordingly, some companies are downgrading their operations there, while others are looking with great interest in alternative markets.
Delivering his inaugural policy address on US-India Relations at Carnegie India, Juster said US is concerned about persistent trade deficit with its trade partners, including India. "India can seize the strategic opportunity - through trade and investment - to become an alternative hub for US business in the Indo-Pacific region", he told an audience in New Delhi. "But we also want to make it clear that if they are going to be engaged in certain predatory economic behaviour or other activities then there's an alternative set of principles that other countries of the region are going to follow", he said.
"Increased heft in our economic relationship would necessarily provide a broader and deeper, long-term USA commitment to India and the Indo-Pacific region".
Bilateral trade has increased from approximately $ 20 billion in 2001 to $ 115 billion in 2016.
Referring to defence ties Juster said, "Perhaps in the next year we can announce some major agreements - fighter jets, advanced helicopters, unmanned ground vehicles and intelligence exchange".
The US government is planning a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India in an effort to boost two-way trade that now stands at $115 billion.
Praising Indians, he said 33 per cent of all immigrant-founded start-ups in the U.S. have Indian founders.
On the issue of H-1B visas, Juster said while the United States continues to attract the largest number of immigrants into the country, it plans to address some of the "fundamental issues" into the various categories of their visa regime. On China and the new worldwide philosophy, Juster said, "Our strategy in the Indo-Pacific is an affirmative strategy. we want to have a constructive relationship with every country in the region. with mutual respect, that does not infringe on the sovereignty of other countries. we want to have a constructive relationship with the Chinese".
In his first public speech after taking over as the ambassador in November, he said an equally important objective is to continue support to India as a net provider of regional security, "capable of responding successfully to threats to peace", especially in the Indian Ocean and its vicinity. "And that's not going to change", he said, the Hindustan Times reported.
Mr Kumar said India continued to closely monitor the developments relating to the issue, adding that alarmist projections on possible difficulties to Indian professionals have been laid to rest by the Department of Homeland Security in the US.
"We want to have a constructive relationship with the Chinese as well".
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