The violence and killings in Manipur are a matter of “human concern” and the U.S. is “ready to assist” India in dealing with the situation “if asked”, U.S. Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference in Kolkata, Mr. Garcetti appreciated the multi-religious nature of Kolkata and said that the U.S. is interested in bringing more investment to the eastern and the northeastern parts of India.
“Let me speak about Manipur first. We pray for peace there. When you ask us about the concern of the United States, I don’t think it’s a strategic concern. I think it’s about human concern... You don’t have to be Indian to care when you see children and individuals die in the sort of violence that we see [in Manipur] and we know that peace is the precedent for so many other good things. There have been so many good things in the northeast and the east here and those can’t continue without peace,” said Mr. Garcetti in response to a query on whether the U.S. establishment was concerned about the violence in Manipur.
Mr. Garcetti said, “We stand ready to assist in any ways if asked. We know it’s an Indian matter and we pray for peace and that it may come quickly. Because we can bring more collaboration, more projects, more investment if that peace is in place.”
“One very clear message I want to send — the east of India and the northeast of India matters to the United States. Its people, its places, its potential and its future matter to us,” he said.
He also highlighted the strategic significance of the northeastern region, as it borders five neighbouring countries.
During his visit to Kolkata, Mr. Garcetti met West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose and Principal Chief Adviser to the Chief Minister Amit Mitra.
The envoy who studied Indian culture as a student expressed his deep interest in understanding the country’s urban culture and development.
The U.S. has a long history with the region as it was in Kolkata that the U.S. opened one of its first missions in the world in 1784 and the first U.S. envoy to India arrived in 1794. The British East India Company did not recognise the mission and allowed envoy Benjamin Joy to work as a commercial agent.
The ties with the U.S. were strengthened during the Second World War when Kolkata and parts of northeastern India served as a gathering point for the Allied powers for their counter-offensive against Japanese forces.