Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala on February 23rd, 2020 raised five “relevant questions on national interest” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of US President Donald Trump’s first state visit to India, which begins on February 24th, 2020.
In a series of tweets, Surjewala started his attack by questioning the Central government on H-1 B visas that allows US employers to temporarily hire citizens of other countries.
“Trump Govt’s restrictive immigration policies have hit H-1B visas. Indians get 70% of 85000 H-1B Visas. Now,Rejection Rate for India has increased from 6% in 2015 to 24% in 2019, esp. for IT professionals,” he tweeted along with a video.
The 52-year-old Congress leader also raised national security concern about the US-Taliban deal, which will be signed at the end of this month.
“US prepares to sign deal with Taliban on 29 Feb. What about India’s red lines! Have we forgotten IC814hijacking & release of terrorist Masood Azhar in Kandhar, who’s JeM then attacked Parliament & Pulwama? As gala bash unfolds, Will Modiji raise our National Security concerns? (sic),” he tweeted.
Surjewala also questioned Modi on the general system of preferences (GSP). The Congress leader asked if Modi will “ensure restoration” of preferential trade treatment for India that allowed duty-free entry for $5.6 billion worth of the country’s exports to the United States?
“Continuing since 1974, US removed India from Duty Free Imports i.e GSP on 5 June,2019 It has affected the $5.6 billion Indian exports to the US, especially gems,jewellery,rice,leather Post ‘Howdy Modi’ & ‘Namaste Trump’ gala events, Will PM ensure restoration of GSP status?,” the Congress leader wrote on the microblogging site.
Amid strained ties between US and Iran over a host of issues, the Congress leader also asked if Modi would be able to secure cheaper oil for India.
In his last question, Surjewala asked, “Uptill 2018, India imported 250Cr ton Crude Oil/month from Iran on ₹payment, 90 days credit & doorstep delivery Modi govt stopped buying cheaper Iran oil as per US sanctions that raised oil prices in India As fest continues in AMD, Will Modiji secure cheaper oil for India?.”
Congress has been constantly targeting the central government over President Trump’s India visit. “India’s exports of $761 million of Steel to US fell by 50% to $372 million as Trump Govt hiked tariffs on import by 25% As India commits to $3 billion Defense purchases, why zero relief for India’s export of steel? @POTUS says America First, why is PM quiet on India First?,” Surjewala wrote further.
US President Trump, accompanied by wife Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, will land in Ahmedabad in PM Modi’s home state Gujarat on February 24th, 2020. The US president will inaugurate the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad’s Motera.
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