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Indian people can count on us, says US envoy ahead of Modi's State visit

May 30, 2023 21:03 IST

The US has accorded a "depth" of friendship and strategic partnership to India that is unmatched in the world and it is set to expand further during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington next month, US ambassador Eric Garcetti said on Tuesday.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Joe Biden at the Mangrove Forest, in Bali, November 16, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo

In an interview to PTI, Garcetti suggested that the two countries are working on certain agreements to bolster defence cooperation and they are likely to be firmed up when Modi visits the US or President Joe Biden comes to India in September for the G20 summit.

On challenges being faced by India from China along its land border as well as in the maritime domain, he said New Delhi can depend on Washington as it stands for respecting borders, sovereignty and the rule of law.


"We will protect and defend these principles. If one country thinks that it can unilaterally change the status quo, that is unacceptable to all of us. We also want to deter action. We would like to see a more peaceful relationship with China for both India and the United States," he said.

At the same time, Garcetti asserted that "bullying" by anybody would not be acceptable.

He said India-US partnership has assumed greater significance for the world in the context of the current geo-political situation, asserting that the partnership is not only beneficial for the two countries but also for the globe.

"Absolutely. I think you will see agreements reached (during) the prime minister's visit, perhaps when the president comes back two months later that institutionalise and formalise what we have been doing for the last few years," Garcetti said when asked whether India and the US are looking at joint development of key military platforms.

"We are offering weapons systems that are cutting edge and also technology transfers that ensure that India can make some of these things here in India," he said.

"We have not done this for some of our closest allies. So India is accorded a depth of friendship and a strategic partnership that is unlike any other in the world. If that's not special then nothing is," he added.

On Modi's state visit to the US next month, Garcetti said the US is "excited" about the trip and that Washington is looking at further deepening of ties in areas of defence, trade and investment, climate change and people-to-people ties.

"We are so excited about this visit and excited to have the president come here (India) a couple months' later for the G20 summit," he said.

Biden is set to visit India in September for the G20 summit.

Modi will embark on his first state visit to the US at the invitation of Biden and First Lady Jill Biden in June. The US president and the First Lady will also host Modi at a state dinner on June 22.

Asked whether India, US partnership has assumed greater significance for the world in the context of the current geo-political situation, he said "absolutely".

"We are integrating everything -- from our military, to our space programmes. We are looking at new trade and investment opportunities, The US became India's number one trading partner and India sent the most students that were approved last year for visas to study in the US," he said.

"So these are proof points of how deep the relationship is. But it is not just what we can do for each other. During the (COVID-19) pandemic, the US and India relations helped countries in Africa and the developed world and the developing world achieve greater health outcomes," he said.

"If we can diversify the supply chain, everything from solar power to green hydrogen, we can combat the climate crisis together. That's just not good for Indians and Americans alone, that's good for the world," the envoy said.

On India's concerns over possible use of Afghan territory for terrorist activities in the region, Garcetti said the US shares the same.

"We share the same concerns. Obviously, in blood and in fortune, we spent a lot in Afghanistan. We want to ensure that terrorism, drugs networks, international criminal networks cannot use Afghanistan as a base and we have been unyielding in saying to how engagements with the United States, you have to stand for principles whether it is women's rights, whether it is standing against terrorism, whether it is to go after drug trade," he said.

"I think the US and India stand very strong on this together. And we respect that this is India's neighbourhood, especially," he said.

The ambassador said Indian people can count on the US in dealing with these challenges.

Manash Pratim Bhuyan in New Delhi
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