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India today rejected suggestions that the US was hyphenating India and Pakistan, saying Indo-US ties are comprehensive and should not be seen through the prism of a third country. Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, also expressed hope that the '2 plus 2' strategic and security dialogue involving the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defence Secretary James Mattis and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would materialises soon. There are reports that Tillerson could visit India and Pakistan during a trip later this month. Responding to a question on whether Tillerson's visit to Pakistan could come in India's way to isolate Islamabad, Kumar said, "We do not agree with this assessment that Tillerson visiting Pakistan and India together means anything." In August, Tillerson had said that Pakistan could lose its major 'Non-Nato ally status' if it continued giving safe haven to Afghan terror groups. The comments on Islamabad speaks for itself, Kumar said. "We feel that India-US bilateral relations are very comprehensive and stand on their own merits and both the countries...we do not look at our relationship through the prism of a third country," Kumar said. On Tillerson's visit to India, Kumar said, "We have not yet confirmed the visit." However, he added that the two foreign offices are in touch on the proposals for the high-level visits. "When we have some conformation, we will make announcement in due course." On the '2 plus 2' dialogue, the MEA spokesperson said there are four ministers involved and getting the dates from them all is a process which is going on. "And we hope that this dialogue materialises soon." To a question on a possible US retreat from the Iran nuclear deal and its impact on the Chabahar port projects, Kumar said India has its own independent position and its relationship with Iran is "historical and civilisational". "We do feel that it should be seen independent from our relationship from any other country," he said. Early this week, US President Donald Trump proposed ending extended-family chain migration by limiting family-based green cards to spouses and minor children, and replacing it with a 'merit-based system that prioritises skills and economic contributions over family connections'.
This is expected to have an impact on Indians. Kumar said India has already taken up these issues, including one related to H-1B visas, with the US. "The issue was recently taken up by the external affairs minister (Swaraj) when she had a meeting with Secretary of State Tillerson in New York," he said. "We also took up the matter of H-1B visa and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme) and conveyed our position on this matter. This was earlier taken up by the prime minister (Narendra Modi) during his meeting with President Trump as well," Kumar said.
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