Modi sits down with Trump to talk drones and HB-1 visas
China will be watching carefully as leaders' first face-to-face meeting to focus on defense and trade
As he visits Washington this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi does so with some interesting personal US travel visa history. Modi is the only person in history to have been barred from entering the US under a little-known religious freedom provision. The law was invoked under the George W Bush administration for Modi’s failure to put an end to violence against Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat where he was at the time chief minister. The decision was later reversed under the Obama administration.
Immigration may also be on the agenda for the two leaders’ talks today, as many are calling for Modi to raise the issue of HB-1 visas, which grants thousands visas to Indian computer engineers each year. President Trump signed an executive order in April to review the program and has pledged to promote a “hire American” policy.
Defense deals are also expected to be signed while Modi is in town, including a deal for 22 unarmed surveillance drones and one for co-production of F-16 fighter jets between Lockheed Martin and Tata.
China will be watching the defense agreements carefully. “Some people in China are a little concerned,” Peking University School of International Studies professor Han Hua told India Today. “Still, it is not the most advanced technology being shared, for example when you look at the F-16s. But that is only one issue of defense cooperation. There is also the transfer of surveillance drones in the Indian Ocean. It will increase India’s capability to have a view over the entire Indian Ocean. That is more symbolic than the F-16 joint production.