Stressing on strategic India-US partnerships in various sectors, US ambassador to India Richard R Verma said here on Wednesday that if both countries continued to work together, they could make a significant contribution to the rest of the world.
Verma, who is on a two-day tour to Punjab, said this while interacting with students and faculty of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU). He added that the times were conducive for stronger ties between the two largest democracies at the government level, coupled with people-to-people connect.
University vice-chancellor Prof AS Brar delivered the welcome address, while Prof Paramjit Singh, dean, academic affairs, introduced the ambassador to the gathering. Prof Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, registrar, presented the vote of thanks.
The ambassador also visited Khalsa College and was impressed by its architecture. He wrote in the visitors' book: "Thanks for the great visit to this historic and important place of learning, education and wisdom. May you continue to educate the future leaders of India, Asia and beyond."
College governing council honourary secretary Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina and principal Dr Mehal Singh offered a proposal for forging closer ties with various US universities and colleges in the areas of agriculture, biotechnology and sciences.
SGPC hands over memorandum
After honouring the US ambassador at the Golden Temple, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) secretary Manjit Singh and Golden Temple manager Partap Singh handed over a memorandum to Verma, while demanding that the safety of Sikhs living in the US be ensured.
In the memorandum, the SGPC requested the ambassador to ensure that appropriate steps were taken to stop incidents of hate crime against Sikhs there.
After paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, the ambassador visited the community kitchen (langar hall) in the shrine. He termed the visit as a special one and thanked SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar for the warm welcome.
Answering questions during his interaction with the faculty and representatives of trade and industry at GNDU, the American envoy said the US had always been keen to encourage communication and connectivity with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal, which would accelerate the growth trajectory and make the region a major economic zone. He said the US could play a major role to bring various nations closer.
Commenting on trouble-torn Pakistan and Afghanistan, Verma said the US strongly believed in strengthening democracies in both countries. He said humanitarian and military aid to Pakistan was meant to fight poverty, besides developing infrastructure and bolstering its capability to fight terrorism.
Later, the ambassador visited the integrated check post (ICP) at Attari, where he was briefed by trade representatives and customs officials about its significance and potential.