India and US share a relationship based on a common desire to have stronger economies and a peaceful Indo-Pacific region, United States Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said on Monday, according to The Indian Express report.
It said Garcetti visited the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad where he stated US would open the next batch of student visas in a couple of weeks.
According to the report, Garcetti, the 26th US Ambassador to India, said the two countries would continue to “deepen” their ties, including in defence.
He as per the report also acknowledged that while stability in the region is important for India, it also stands for the values that strengthen the Indo-Pacific region, such as rule of law and freedom of movement and commerce.
Garcetti, while comparing US-India relations when he had visited India at the age of 14, said in his statement before the media at the Sabarmati Ashram: “Back then, there were no defence sales, and now we are an important part of the mutual strategy to keep our people safe and to protect the Indo-Pacific region together”, the report mentioned.
The report quoting Garcetti said, “It is always important to say that India and the US, our relationship is not based on anyone else, it is based on each other. It is based on warmth and friendship, a mutual strategic interest, and a common desire for stronger economies and a peaceful, prosperous Indo-Pacific region. Wherever that is challenged, I think we stand together. We want to see stability in the neighbourhood, that’s important for India, but we also stand for the values that I think the Indo-Pacific region is strengthened by — freedom, freedom of movement and commerce, making sure we have rule of law and making sure that people play by the same rules.”
“We respect sovereignty and borders. These are critical things where I think India and the US will continue to stand together, deepen our defence ties, deepen our defence industries, develop things together — from space to technology. We want to see technology as a positive thing in people’s lives. Look at India and how electronic payments have helped empower people from the bottom up; we don’t see it as technology being used against people, from top down. So I think there is a contrast in where India and the US stand with other countries, but it is never about a third country, it is about us, and I’ll continue to emphasise that, and where India needs us to stand with her, we will be there,” the report mentioned.
Garcetti as per the report also said: “It is a great problem to have because it reflects how many Indian students want to come to the US. Every year we solve it, and it gets even bigger. Last year more student visas were admitted for Indian students than for any other country. In the next couple of weeks, we are opening the next batch of student visas, and assigning workers to focus on student visas as much as possible. But we are not just thinking about this year. My goal as the ambassador is to think about five years and twenty years from now, and I know that the President of the United States is very focused on this too. He has told me he wants us to focus on reducing the wait times for students, first-time visitors, and others.”
He added as per the report: “We have brought down the wait times by 60 per cent from where they were just in December (2022), but that’s not good enough; we got to go further. In the coming year, we will see those wait times come down, and I can’t wait to welcome more Indian students. So this is good for the American economy, it is great for the Indian economy, and it’s just good for civilisation.”