US Embassy in India plans to open the next batch of student visas in the next couple of weeks and hopes to issue more visas this year than before, announced Mr Eric Garcetti, the US Ambassador to India. Mr Garcetti is on his maiden Gujarat and Maharashtra tour, where he told that an effort is being made to reduce the wait time not just for students but also for first-time visitors with the embassy assigning staff to focus on the issue.
“I think we will show that this year we will be able to go past the earlier numbers and get to an even higher number,” he said. “The President (Joe Biden) is very focused on this too. He has told me to reduce visa issuance time not just for students but also for first-time visitors and others.”
Garcetti said in the last three months, the wait time was brought down by 60% from where they were in December. “In the coming year, we will bring the wait time down further,” he said. “My goal as an ambassador is to think of five years and 20 years from now.”
“Indian students are so great for America. They are great for our universities, they are great for our commerce,” Garcetti said. “Look at the number of Indian-born CEOs of great companies based in America. It is good for the American economy, it’s great for the Indian economy, and it’s just good for civilisation too,” he added.
Garcetti said when he first came to India at the age of 14, the trade between India and the US was just two billion dollars.
“Today, it is over 100 billion dollars and it (US) is the number one trading partner with India. Back then, there were no defense cells, zero dollars, and now we are an important part of a mutual strategy to keep our people safe and protect the Indo-Pacific region together,” he said.