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F-1 Visa, Covid-19 Vaccine Among Key Issues Discussed in Virtual Indo-US Talks

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The Ministry of External Affairs said the two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to work towards ensuring a free, open, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: July 7, 2020, 9:37 PM IST
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India and the US on Tuesday deliberated on a host of bilateral, regional and global issues during an online meeting between Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale.

The Ministry of External Affairs said the two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to work towards ensuring a free, open, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Among the issues discussed was the impact of the decision that students studying in the US on F-1 visas should depart the country if all their classes have been moved online in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sources said the US has assured India that it will keep the best interests of students in mind while dealing with the issue.

“The US side took note and said they will keep the best interests of the students in mind and try and mitigate the impact. Detailed implementation guidelines are yet to come out,” a source said.

Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, the MEA said the two sides agreed to further strengthen the bilateral health partnership, including on pharmaceuticals and vaccine development.

"They discussed ways to further enhance mutually beneficial trade and people-to-people ties, including through visa facilitation for students and professionals," it said.

The talks were held under the India-US Foreign Office Consultations. It is not immediately known whether the border row between India and China figured in the talks.

"They reviewed the entire gamut of engagements under the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, including political, economic, commercial, regional and international cooperation," the MEA said in a statement.

It said Shringla and Hale exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues of shared interest.

"They reaffirmed their commitment to work towards ensuring a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific. They agreed on the need to deepen cooperation in the United Nations, especially during India's membership of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2021-2022," it said.

India and the US have been expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region where China has been trying to expand its military and economic clout.

"They agreed to remain in touch and move forward on the bilateral agenda through a range of mechanisms like the 2+2 ministerial that India will host later this year," it said.

The foreign and defence ministerial dialogue between the two sides is scheduled to be held in India later this year.

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