Obama visit set to mark new era in India-US ties: Jaishankar

New Delhi: India's ambassador to the US, S. Jaishankar, has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to America last year "really re-energised" the relations between the two nations, and the visit of President Barack Obama from Sunday is set to "mark a new era" in bilateral ties.

In an address on a radio programme "India Global", broadcast by state-owned All India Radio, Jaishankar said the large Indian-American population had helped shape the image of India through dint of their hard work.

In the radio programme, broadcast on FM Gold Friday ahead of the three-day state visit of Obama, Jaishankar said "Prime Minister Modi's visit to the US really re-energised the relationship that was going through a somewhat difficult patch for a variety of reasons".

"He brought the message to the US of a different India - of an India that is much more purposeful, determined, much more serious, willing to take steps that would make it a more attractive and credible partner, and with a strong sense of follow through on what he was saying.

"His image, his record, his presentation, articulation had a profound effect, I believe, on the relationship," the envoy said.

On the visit of Obama, who is to be chief guest at the Republic Day parade, Jaishankar said: "We must appreciate that this is the first time an American president is visiting as chief guest and the first time that we have invited...

"The symbolism of both the invitation and the acceptance is very important. It takes the relationship to a different level, because it is a very public acceptance of the fact today that the earlier era is behind us, that we have very strong common interests, convergences, a sense of bonding, that there are a lot of things that we can do together and that we are willing to signal that very publicly to our peoples," he said.

He said he was "really very confident the visit will mark a new era in our ties".

On the Indian-American population, Jaishankar said there were three and a quarter million Indian Americans and more than a million Indian residents in the US who have helped shape the image of India in the eyes of the average American.

"When Americans think of India, they think of a techie, a doctor, professionals, hard working, thrifty people, who share similar values to American people," he said, adding that the Indian Americans "are a very important part of the transformation of India-US ties".

"We can build on that," he said, and added that the Indian mission was devoting a lot of energy to the diaspora.

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