India-US ties have global importance, Indian foreign minister says

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar says the two countries are not purely focused on mutual gains

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, left, met the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his 11-day trip to the US. He raised the issue of the backlog of US visas for Indians post the pandemic. Getty Images / AFP
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The relationship between the largest democracies — India and the US — affects the world and is not merely limited to mutual gains, India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has said. He said this relationship serves as an example to many countries seeking solutions to global problems.

Mr Jaishankar was speaking in Washington DC on Wednesday, after concluding an 11-day official trip to the US which included an address to the UN General Assembly.

“If you look at the India-US relationship, it’s not a narrow relationship only devoted to each other’s gains,” Mr Jaishankar said.

"Our relationship today impacts the rest of the world. There are a lot of countries which look to us individually and bilaterally for some part of the betterment, which they hope for solutions which the world is searching for in many respects."

He said that the bilateral conversations between the two countries were framed under the pretext of larger global challenges. He added that there was a “very high degree of convergence” as the priorities of India and the US, at times, have been different.

"It’s natural our positions will not be identical; our priorities may sometimes be a little bit different.

“But again, the good part of the relationship is today, that we understand that we have to make space for each other and that we can work with each other, even if we do not entirely agree on every aspect of every issue."

His comments came two days after he lashed out at the US for its decision to provide $450 million F-16 fighter jet security assistance to Islamabad to “fight terrorism”.

Mr Jaishankar had questioned the merits of the US-Pakistan partnership, days after the US State Department approved the military sale to New Delhi’s arch-rival Pakistan. This reversed a 2018 ban.

He also talked to US congressmen and also met the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with whom he raised the issue of the backlog of US visas for Indians post the pandemic.

Indian applicants for US non-immigrant visas are subjected to a waiting period of more than two years.

In Delhi, student and exchange visitors are facing a waiting period of 444 calendar days. Meanwhile, there are 758 calendar days for visitor visas and 354 calendar days for all other non-immigrant visas.

Updated: September 29, 2022, 11:14 AM