Thursday, June 12, 2008

'Indians traveling to U.S. increase by 80 percent'

There has been 80 percent increase in visas for Indians traveling the U.S, says to Michael S Owen, Consul General in Mumbai.

In 2007, 2.26 lakh visas were issued, compared to 1.25 lakh in 2006. "Though the government-to-government contacts are important, people-to-people contacts are more important for the relationship," Owen said while delivering the Lincon Memorial Lecture organized by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.

"The Indo-U.S. relationship has come a long way from what it used to be in the Cold War era," he said. The turning point in bilateral ties was former U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to India.

Owen said many experts were against the visit after India conducted nuclear tests. Still, Clinton was of the view that India will be an important global force in coming years. "Now, India is considered to be a strategic partner by the United States," said Owen. "Apart from the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, the two countries have reached an open skies agreement. Both sides are also engaged in a agriculture knowledge initiative, a space cooperation program and military cooperation," he added.

posted by: sajju