US Consul General Thomas Vajda has said his country remains a safe and hospitable place for visitors and will continue to welcome “legitimate” travellers.
Responding to queries over hate crimes in the US, he yesterday said: “I honestly believe that these types of incidents grab headlines just (as) attacks in India or anywhere grab headlines, but I really believe that the US remains safe and hospitable place for travellers.”
On the killing of a 32-year-old Indian techie at a Kansas bar, Vajda said everyone in the US, including President Donald Trump, condemned the incident and help poured in for the victim and survivor.
“We want Indians to come to the US to do business, invest, study and engage in tourism. Travel is one of the cornerstones of our economic and business connections and has played a significant role in transforming the US-Indian relationship over the past decade,” he said.
Asked about changes, particularly those pertaining to Trump’s executive order barring citizens of six Muslim- majority countries from entering the US, the envoy said: “Currently, the US court has stayed that order so it is not in effect.”
“The United Stated will continue to welcome legitimate travellers to the country and the Trump administration is very clear of ensuring that they are stopping individuals coming to the US who wish to harm us.
“We welcome the majority travellers, whose purpose is to study, and engage in tourism and business,” Vajda said.
He also noted that 1.2 million Indian tourists visited the US in 2015-16 and India is among the fastest growing outbound markets in terms of travellers for America.
Vajda added that almost everybody, who qualifies for visa, gets visa, which is valid for 10 years.
“So if someone gets visa for the US, he or she need not worry about it for 10 years,” he added.