Indian-American Nikki Haley, on her first visit to India after becoming US envoy to UN, on Wednesday termed her visit as a homecoming and said that it aimed to solidify “US love for India”.
“In this day and time we see more and more reasons for India and the US to come together. I am here to once again solidify our love for India, our belief in the friendship India and the US have and our willingness to make that relationship even stronger,” Haley said.
Expressing her happiness to be back in India in the summer heat, the daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab said the heat was worth to be back in India.
“It makes my heart happy to be back in India, it is as beautiful as I remember it to be. It’s always good to be back home,” Haley said as she visited the majestic tomb of Mughal emperor Humayun in the national capital, accompanied by US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster.
“My parents said I was crazy to come at this time of the year because it is so hot. But, I will tell you that the heat is worth it to be back in India,” she said.
The US envoy also pointed to opportunities in Indo-US relationship at multiple levels, including counter-terrorism and military aspects, and spoke about the strength of US-India relationship. And her visit was aimed at solidifying the partnership between these oldest democracies in the world, she said.
“We see those opportunities between the US and India in a multiple level of ways whether in counter terrorism, whether it is the fact that we want to continue democratic opportunities, whether it is a fact that we want to start to work together more strongly in military aspects,” she said.
Haley said that there are lot of things common between India and the US and her visit was to solidify the friendship.
Hailing preservation of Humayun tomb as a reminder of value attached by India to culture, she said,”Humayun tomb is a reminder of how much we value culture and how much India values culture. The preservation that has happened here is a reminder that we all remember where we came from and we have to preserve it for the future.”
Haley, who is scheduled to visit religious places in the city tomorrow, asserted the importance of religious freedom. Haley said that religious freedom was as important as freedom of people and their rights.
“We think freedom of religion is as important as freedom of rights and freedom of people,” she said.
During the two-day visit, Haley will meet senior Indian officials, business leaders and students, underscoring America’s “strong alliance” with the country.
Talks between Haley, the highest ranking Indian-American in the Donald Trump administration, and Indian officials could include India-US strategic ties and significant global developments.
Haley, who is the first Indian-American to serve in a Cabinet-level position in any US presidential administration, last visited India in 2014 when she was the South Carolina Governor.