Indo-US Ties

‘America is a nation of immigrants’: US envoy to India addresses H-1B visa concerns

Kenneth Juster, who made the remark at his inaugural policy speech, also made a pitch to scale up defence ties between the countries.

The United States Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster on Thursday said the country might tweak its visa processes, but it would not put skilled workers from India at a disadvantage.

Juster made the comment at his inaugural policy speech during an event hosted by the Carnegie India think-tank. His statements come days after the US administration said it would not change its non-immigrant permit or H-1B visa policy.

“The US is a country of immigrants, and that’s what helped drive our economy and our growth and made us what we are,” Juster said. “And that’s not going to change.”

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. However, he believes that the economic relationship between the two countries could help increase trade volumes and ultimately culminate in a free trade agreement. He said India could become “an alternative hub for US business in the Indo-Pacific region”.

Defence ties

Juster proposed that the two countries work towards appointing military liaison officers at each other’s combatant commands. The objective, he said, was to turn the strategic relationship to a durable one.

“Over time, we should expand officer exchanges at our war colleges and our training facilities, and even at some point, post reciprocal military liaison officers at our respective combatant commands,” he said.

In an indirect reference to Pakistan, the envoy said the US would not tolerate “cross-border terrorism” or terrorist safe havens anywhere in the world. The Trump administration has suspended security assistance to the Pakistani military and demanded “decisive action” against Taliban factions based in the country.

Juster also said Washington was working closely with New Delhi and other international partners to secure India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

“Now, India is celebrating its membership in two of the four multilateral export control regimes – the Wassenaar Arrangement on dual-use items, which India just joined, and the Missile Technology Control Regime,” Juster said. “We also expect, in the very near future, for India to join the Australia Group on chemical and biological weapons.”

The Australia Group is an informal group of countries established in 1985 to help member nations identify exports that need to be controlled to prevent proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

Play

Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.