Top diplomat visits US as concerns over Indians’ safety mount

NEW DELHI: India’s foreign secretary is due to open talks with the new US administration as concerns mount over the safety of Indians following the killing of an expatriate in a suspected hate crime.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old engineer with the US company Garmin, died after navy veteran Adam Purinton opened fire in a Kansas bar last week. Witnesses said the suspect yelled “Get out of my country!” before the shooting.
“We hope the US government will try to restore the sense of confidence and faith of minorities in the country,” Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said ahead of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s four-day visit to the US starting Tuesday.
During the trip, Jaishankar is also likely to discuss proposed legislation that makes it difficult for US companies to outsource jobs to Indians and workers from other countries, sources in India’s Foreign Ministry said.
Media reports said Jaishankar will meet Acting Deputy Secretary of State Tom Shannon and other officials, in what are Delhi’s first formal conversations with the Trump administration.
In his talks, Jaishankar is also expected to discuss the way forward in bilateral ties, including a possible visit by Premier Narendra Modi to the US in the next few months, the reports said.
Kuchibhotla’s friend Alok Madasani, 32, and a witness, Ian Grillot, 24, who tried to stop the gunman, were also injured in the shooting last Wednesday.
Purinton fled from the scene but was caught in Missouri later where he told a member of staff at a local bar that he had shot two Middle Eastern men. He has been charged with murder.
Thousands of Indians study and work in the US, and the killing of the Indian engineer has caused shock and anger in the South Asian country.
Reports suggest that there is growing concern among Indian expatriates and in India that the US is no longer safe for students and workers after the Trump administration took over.
Following the shooting, Madasani’s father, Jaganmohan Reddy, appealed to “all parents in India” not to send their children to the US under the “present circumstances”. — dpa