Hyderabad– The US has no specific role in defusing tension between India and China over the border row and it has a clear stand that the territorial integrity of India must be honoured, said US Embassy Charge d’Affaires, Elizabeth Jones said on Tuesday.
She said that the US supports the efforts being made by both India and China to address the border issue.
“I don’t see a specific role for the US,” she said during an interaction with a select group of journalists here to queries if she foresees a role for Washington to defuse the tension in the wake of recent clashes on the Indo-Chinese border.
“We support the efforts that we hear about in public on part of both China and India to talk about difficulties that occurred at the border. This is appropriate and we support it.
“At the same time we are very forthright about the territorial integrity of India and we maintain stoutly that it must be honoured and respected,” she added.
Jones also termed as absolutely appropriate the decision of India to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. “In international relations it’s important not to tell other countries what to do but instead find ways to work together and we have done that,” she said when asked if the US has gone soft towards India on the Ukraine conflict.
“In this situation in which India has made a choice to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine is absolutely appropriate. The Prime Minister has made the choice to speak that is not an era of war which is entirely appropriate and made it clear that a political solution is preferred,” she added.
To another query, she said there was a very clear recognition on part of the US government that every country makes choices based on its interests and its values. “The US sees India as a partner of choice on issues that are important for well being for each of its people.”
“It’s not realistic and certainly not possible for countries to dictate other countries how they behave. We can discuss common interests, we can talk about issues on which we don’t agree and we can understand positions other countries take on a host of issues,” she added.
Jones did not agree that the delay in appointing a full-time US Ambassador to India had any impact on the bilateral relations.
“Obviously it’s much preferred to have a confirmed ambassador in every embassy but for reasons that are just part of the US system that confirmation did not happen for Mayor Eric Garcetti. However, very good news is that he has been renominated,” she said.
She claimed that the trade and military to military cooperation between the two countries has gone up during the period and understanding about Ukraine has worked out well.
Stating that visa backlog is a concern for many Indians, she said Washington has made reduction of visa wait time a top global priority.
She said the US was deploying more resources than ever for visa applicants including recruiting staff from Washington and back office support from locations outside India. The target is to have the highest level of consular officials in India by December this year.
The US Charge d’Affaires said the student visa have already been given tremendous priority by the US. Last year a very big surge was made at all consulates and the embassy in New Delhi in August and early September to issue 125,000 student visas. “There is also a surge underway now to assure students who are applying now for spring semester get their visas in time.”
She said she discussed the issue with senior officials in Washington including the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs. The process is underway for hiring and training additional visa counsellors for assignment to India for different consulates and consular sections in New Delhi. She said by summer, the number of visa counsellors and adjudicators will be higher than before the pandemic. (IANS)