India and U.S. discuss Indo-Pacific, threats to rules-based international order, trade and vaccines



Sriram Lakshman|The Hindu Times|

Hours after the U.S. issued a rule that did not exempt foreign students from enrolling in just online classes in the autumn, placing many Indian students at risk of falling out of valid immigration status, Indian and U.S. officials held their scheduled virtual Foreign Office Consultations. In addition to discussing the Indo-Pacific, the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, the student visa issue was discussed as per a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) readout, but the U.S State Department’s readout made no mention of it.

The two countries had “discussed ways to further enhance mutually beneficial trade and people-to-people ties, including through visa facilitation for students and professionals,” the MEA statement said.

“The discussions included ongoing threats to the rules-based international order, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic cooperation, maritime security and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the U.S. statement said.

“In addition, Under Secretary Hale and Foreign Secretary Shringla affirmed the U.S. and Indian visions of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, where all countries can prosper, and agreed to work with other Indo-Pacific partners to bring these visions to reality.” The U.S. frequently refers to China as being a threat to the rules-based international order.

The two countries agreed to stay in touch including via the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue (Defence and Foreign Ministers of both countries) which will be held in India later this year.

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