Stating that United States has a “huge stake” in India’s success, the new US Consul General in Mumbai, Edgard D Kagan on his maiden visit to Gujarat on Monday said the upcoming visit of US defence secretary James Mattis is a sign of growing strategic ties between the two countries.
“I am here when the US-India relationship is, without doubt, the strongest it’s ever been… We have a solid foundation and the potential is huge in every area, ranging from people to people, education, security and defence, and research,” said Kagan who is on an “introductory trip” to the state. He assumed office in August.
“The truth is, stronger US-India relations are going to be good for Gujarat, and the same way, better ties with Gujarat are good for the overall relationship,” Kagan said while talking about his visit. “This week our secretary defence James Mattis’ is visiting New Delhi. That is a sign and a reflection of growing strategic ties between our countries on defence… There are shared interests, values and concerns; and also great potential where US can be helpful to India and vice-a-versa.” he said while interacting with mediapersons.
“We have an interest in India’s success. I say this from a strategic standpoint and this is something where the relationship has changed,” he added. Kagan who has worked on US-Japan relationship in the past stated that US has a “close alliance with Japan” which is “extraordinary in breath, depth and its closeness.” “It is not a surprise that we look at India in similar ways…. Regardless of what is happening anywhere else in the world, we have an interest in India’s success,” he reiterated.
Similar view were expressed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he visited Ahmedabad for the ground-breaking ceremony of the bullet train a fortnight ago. “A strong India is in the interest of Japan, and a strong Japan is in interest of India,” Abe had said in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Talking about the US-India relations, the diplomat said that the driving force between the two countries has been the people-to-people and economic ties. “The trade data underestimates the importance of the relation in both directions. The economic relation is less about the trade per say than about the influence that Indians have in United States and the Americans have here… The impact that American companies have had in India, goes well beyond the actual number of people they employ and the amount of trade. It is an indirect influence. American companies have invested in human capital development, they have invested in training and the people benefitted from that….They did not make money here, but they got talent here,” Kagan added.
Earlier in the day, the US official also visited the some of the landmarks in the city including Sabarmati Ashram, Siddi Saiyed Mosque and the American Corner. On Tuesday, he is expected to have a breakfast meeting with representatives of US companies operating in Gujarat and later on he will head to Gandhinagar to meet Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. He will also be visiting SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association).