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India, US discuss Iran, visa hike

Delhi,Diplomacy, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) Ahead of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's visit to Washington for the India-US strategic dialogue, the two countries held talks Monday on a host of bilateral and global issues that included the Iranian sanctions and the US visa fee hike that is hurting the Indian IT industry.


Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai held wide-ranging talks with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman to firm up the agenda for the forthcoming strategic dialogue between Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington in June.


Sherman also met National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and held discussions on closer collaboration in combating terrorism and in issues relating to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, informed sources said.


India conveyed its concerns over the proposed US sanctions against Iran which has the potential to undermine India's energy security as it imports around 10-12 per cent of its oil requirements from that country, said the sources.


The US appreciated India's position and agreed with New Delhi in opening space for dialogue to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.


India also raised concerns over what it sees as "discrimination" against the Indian software companies which are being asked to pay higher H-1B and L1 visa fee for their employees than the American firms.


The US assuaged India's concerns and rejected the impression of any discrimination targeted against the Indian IT industry, said the sources.


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