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India’s top diplomat to visit US after Kansas killing

The safety of Indian expatriates is reportedly on the agenda when Indian Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar travels to Washington/AFP-File

NEW DELHI, Feb 27 – New Delhi’s top diplomat will travel to Washington this week for talks with US officials as anger grows over the death of an Indian expatriate in a suspected hate crime.

Thousands of Indians visit the United States every year for work or study, and the killing of 32-year-old engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in a Kansas bar last week has caused shockwaves around the country.

A second Indian engineer, Alok Madasani, was injured in the shooting by a white man whom witnesses said screamed racial slurs.

A ministry official said Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar would travel to Washington on Tuesday for a “wide-ranging bilateral discussion”, without giving further details.

Jagan Mohan Reddy holds a smartphone with an image of his son Alok Madasani at his residence in Hyderabad on February 24, 2017, after Alok was injured in the shooting of two Indian men in the US state of Kansas/AFP

Reports said Jaishankar, the most senior Indian official to visit since President Donald Trump took office, would discuss proposed restrictions to so-called H-1B visas as well as seeking reassurances on the safety of Indian expatriates.

India’s IT sector uses H-1B visas to send thousands of highly-skilled workers to America every year.

News of the visit came after an Indian minister described hate crimes as “shameful”, adding to a growing chorus of demands for Washington to act.

In an editorial on Monday The Times of India said the shooting had shocked the Indian community in the US and urged Trump to “make it clear that such hate is not acceptable in his America”.

US authorities have charged Adam Purinton, 51, with premeditated first-degree murder over the shooting, and are looking into whether it was a hate crime.

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