Congress seeks India takeaways

Opposition party slams Centre for not putting interests of ‘India first’

New Delhii: Ahead of the visit of United States of America President Donald Trump, the Congress slammed the central government charging it of not putting ‘India First’. In a series of tweets Congress Communications Chief Randeep Singh Surjewala slammed the central government, beginning his attack with a pointed question on H-1 B visas that allows US employers to temporarily hire citizens of other countries.

He tweeted, “Trump government’s restrictive immigration policies have hit H-1B visas. Indians get 70 pc of 85,000 H-1B visas. Now, rejection rate for India has increased from 6 pc in 2015 to 24 pc in 2019, especially for IT professionals. Post 10 million people gala event, will PM Modi ask for easing H-1B visas.”

The US-Taliban deal, which is expected to be signed at the end of this month and has been termed by Russia as an “important event for peace,” also figured in one of the tweets by Surjewala as he raised concern about national security.

“US prepares to sign deal with Taliban on Feb 29. What about India’s red lines! Have we forgotten IC814 hijacking & 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?” he wrote in another post.

Surjewala’s other tweet said, “Will PM Modi 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?”

The general system of preferences (GSP) was scrapped by the US last year. The Congress has been taking shots at PM Modi over the issue. On Friday, another senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "This visit should not be reduced to a photo opportunity or a PR exercise that would devalue the importance of our partnership... that would also not be in India’s national interest.”

Surjewala also said up till 2018, India imported 250 crore ton Crude Oil/month from Iran on Rupee payment, 90 days credit and doorstep delivery.

The Modi government stopped buying cheaper Iran oil as per US sanctions that raised oil prices in India, he alleged. “As fest continues in Ahmedabad, Will Modiji secure cheaper oil for India,” he asked.

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