May send more students to the US this year than ever before: Blinken

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Visiting US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Wednesday praised the US mission staff here for processing a record number of visas for Indian students to study in the US, saying “this is where ensuring connections are made”, as well as repatriating citizens during the pandemic.
“We may end up sending more students to the United States this year than ever before as a result of your work,” he said in a meeting with US mission staff.
“And that’s important in so many different ways, but it’s particularly important, I think to all of us, because this is where enduring connections are made between the United States and India. These are relationships that are going to be not just established now but will likely endure for years, for decades, for generations. Nothing could be more important,” he added.
“And students who are now going to be able to start classes or take part in summer session, they are on their way, or they are at colleges and universities in the United States, thanks to the remarkable work that you’ve done. You made a major push this summer for visas. As I understand it, by the end of August you will have conducted 68,000 student visa interviews, which is the highest in years. And again, to do that during Covid is extraordinary,” he added.
“Really extraordinary work on visas in the last few months and repatriating some of our fellow citizens. Nearly 6,000 US citizens and legal residents, permanent residents, were repatriated, thanks to your work,” Blinken said.
“We all remember well, and I think we’ll never forget, the extent to which India came to our assistance in the United States in the earlier days of Covid when we were being hit particularly hard. And I am proud of the fact that we’ve been able to step up when it’s really mattered to India, but that just doesn’t happen. It takes remarkable organisation,” Blinken said.
“And much of that was done right here by all of you actually organising all of the assistance that was coming forward, assistance that the US Government provided, but also in a very extraordinary way the private sector as well. But that had to be – that had to be organised. It had to be distributed. It had to be coordinated with the Indian government. And you’ve done all of that. I think that’s had a very meaningful impact in helping to turn the tide of the second wave here in India, and it’s not every day that you can say that the work you’ve done has quite literally saved lives, but you can say that,” Blinken added.

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