Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, during a meeting in New York, Sept. 18, on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly session. (PTI/Twitter)
President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump met Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Sept. 18, and discussed about women’s entrepreneurship and workforce development in their countries. Swaraj also raised the issue of terrorism and H-1B with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as the two leaders met for the first time in a bilateral setting, Sept. 22, writes Lalit K. Jha.
Ivanka, who would be leading the U.S. delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in India in November, met Swaraj on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly session, in New York.
“We had a great discussion on women’s entrepreneurship, the upcoming #GES2017 and workforce development in the US and India,” Ivanka said in a tweet after the meeting.
India and the US will co-host the GES in Hyderabad from November 28 to 30. The GES is the preeminent annual gathering of emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders from around the world.
Ivanka, 35, took to Twitter to express her respect for 65-year-old Swaraj, whom she described as the “charismatic” foreign minister.
“I have long respected India’s accomplished and charismatic Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, and it was an honor to meet her today,” Ivanka said.
Swaraj discussed “women empowerment” and Ivanka’s forthcoming visit to India, the Indian Embassy in the U.S. said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had personally invited Ivanka for the GES event during his meeting with President Trump in Washington in June this year.
During her week-long stay here, the minister, leading a high-powered Indian delegation, is expected to hold about 20 bilateral and trilateral meetings with leaders attending the session.
Swaraj raises issue of terrorism, H1B with Tillerson
Swaraj and Tillerson, who met in New York on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session, also discussed strengthening of the U.S.-India political and economic partnership, officials said.
“The Secretary thanked the Minister for India’s contributions to stability and development in Afghanistan and the region,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said after the meeting.
“They discussed further strengthening the U.S.-India political and economic partnership,” she said.
Swaraj also strongly raised with Tillerson the issue of H1-B visa, the most sought after by Indian IT professionals.
The Trump administration is currently reviewing the H-1B visa policy as it thinks that the visa is being misused by companies to replace American workers.
“The two ministers discussed regional issues, with a focus of Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
The two sides reviewed all aspects of bilateral relationship, including expanding trade and investment relations, he added.
They also discussed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
President Donald Trump scrapped an amnesty program this month, that granted work permits to immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children. The move can impact 800,000 undocumented workers including thousands of Indian Americans.
According to Nauert, Swaraj and Tillerson also discussed the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which the U.S. and India will co-host in Hyderabad from November 28 to 30.
The American delegation would be led by Ivanka Trump.
During the meeting, the two leaders also discussed a wide range of bilateral issues, including the situation in the neighborhood and the Indo-Asia Pacific region, officials said.
This was the first highest-level meeting between the leaders of the two countries since June when Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with President Trump.
The meeting also comes ahead of the visit of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to India next week.
This was the first stand-alone meeting between Swaraj and Tillerson.
“Secretary Tillerson and Minister Swaraj also looked forward to convening a 2+2 dialogue alongside Minister of Defense (Nirmala) Sitharaman and Secretary of Defense (Jim) Mattis in the near future,” Nauert said.
Swaraj will deliver her address to the UN General Assembly, Sept. 23.