Home WORLD NEWS US Envoy To India Eric Garcetti Opens Up On Khalistan Issue, CAA And More. Here’s What He Said

US Envoy To India Eric Garcetti Opens Up On Khalistan Issue, CAA And More. Here’s What He Said

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US Envoy To India Eric Garcetti Opens Up On Khalistan Issue, CAA And More. Here’s What He Said

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New Delhi: Opening up on of concerns of the US “shielding” pro-Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the country’s ambassador to India Eric Garcetti on Sunday said Washington practices a robust freedom of speech that is different from India’s.

In an interview with news agency ANI, the US envoy to India said, “We have a very robust freedom of speech that exists…that’s different than the freedom of speech that exists here. In order to get a criminal conviction in the US, you have to actually be taking action, not just making speech.”

To a question on whether there was trust deficit between New Delhi and Washington in addressing the former’s concerns over the Khalistan issue and if the State Department was “tone deaf” to India’s call for action, the envoy added, “I don’t think that we are at all. Many of us know that history. Conversely, I think in the US, the strength of that feeling isn’t enough to break the law that we have. It’s very important for us to not only be sensitive and to work more closely than ever.”

Garcetti On CAA

Asserting that a “red line” should not be crossed between the two nations, Garcetti said, “When people do step over the line saying something will be bombed as opposed to saying something shouldn’t fly. We want success for anybody if there’s a criminal accusation to actually reach the threshold that would have a successful outcome.”

To the US commenting on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and India’s internal affairs, the US ambassador said, “Religious freedom is an important part of any democracy…protecting minorities is very important. That doesn’t have to be read negatively.”

“It’s the job of monitoring what happens…that’s the job of an ambassador,” Garcetti added.

Garcetti also acknowledged that the US also has “tons of flaws” and is receptive to critique. He underscored the significance of identifying common international laws and honouring the unique history of each country.

“We have a deep friendship. It’s very respectful. Sometimes we can agree to disagree on things and continue with our business, and we shouldn’t take it with thin skin. We shouldn’t take it personally. Certainly, I open up on the United States, I say all the time, from a place of humility. We have a tonne of flaws. We’re open to criticism. We want to listen,” Garcetti said.

Earlier, the US State Department had expressed its “concern” regarding the notification of the CAA in India. It stated that it is “closely monitoring” the implementation of the Act.

Indian Students’ Safety

Weighing in on the concerns over the safety of Indian students studying in the US, Garcetti, advocating vigilance, said, “Students should remain vigilant and familiarise themselves with safe neighbourhoods. The same sort of advice we give to travellers when they go around the world, including in places like India, is that we know that these things can happen, but you can play a role in lessening the risk.”

The envoy also emphasised the significance of group travel, maintaining connections with peers, and steering clear of hazardous activities, such as illegal drug consumption. Addressing worries regarding the safety perception in American college towns compared to counterparts like Australia and New Zealand, Garcetti offered reassurance. While acknowledging existing challenges, he pointed out a notable drop in crime rates, particularly violent ones, in recent times.

“I think there’s always just safe things to do, but there’s not. I mean, crime has gone down, violent crime, especially in the last few years. It’s much safer than it was in the 1970s and 1980s,” he said.

Garcetti attributed the increased awareness of incidents to the swift dissemination of information facilitated by social media platforms. He asserted that the United States remains a secure destination for Indian students, extending a cordial invitation while expressing gratitude for the international student community’s presence in the nation.

Garcetti On India-US Relation

Sharing his thoughts on the India-US relation, Garcetti said it is just significant for New Delhi and Washington but for the entire world.

Asserting that both India and US are defending democracies both on domestic and international fronts, Garcetti said, “He (President Joe Biden) said you know Eric, this is the most important country in the world to me when he was asking me to become its envoy. He meant it because I heard him say directly in the Oval Office to the Prime Minister that this is the most consequential relationship.”

“The reality is that Indians love Americans. The reality is that Americans love Indians. The bridge has never been stronger. The work we are doing has never been more important. It’s consequential not just for the US or India but for the rest of the world,” Garcetti added.

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