Eric Garcetti, the American Ambassador to India, in an exclusive interview with India Today, said the US Congress will approve the GE-HAL deal to produce fighter jet engines

"The United States, they don't agree on much these days. They agree on India," said Eric Garcetti, the American Ambassador to India in an exclusive interview with India Today on Friday. He made the remark while announcing that the US Congress would approve by Monday the deal signed between General Electric (GE) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force.

Referring to the recent visit to India by a US Congressional delegation, Eric Garcetti said, "You saw the congressional delegation come here, you had Republicans and Democrats...In some ways, India unites us in the same way that America unites many Indians."

The Ambassador also said there is "warmth and friendship" between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden and there would be "five to six" bilateral meets between the two leaders this year alone. When asked if a bilateral meeting has been set up between the two leaders during the upcoming G20 Summit, Eric Garcetti said, "The schedule is not set yet. I expect there to be one. There's such a warmth and friendship. I think there is going to be five to six times our leaders will be together, face to face, this year alone."

The US President will visit India from September 7 to 10 for the G-20 Leaders' Summit in Delhi.

He added that President Joe Biden is "very excited" about seeing PM Modi, especially in India. "He's been here many times, but this is the first time he's coming as President of the United States. So, I expect not only do they want to see each other, but I know behind the scenes, we're working on an agenda as ambitious almost as the State visit and deliverables on education, on defence, on our two new consulates, on visas, on technology and those things that our people care about," said Garcetti.

He also applauded India's efforts for the G20 Summit which will be held in New Delhi from September 9 to 10. He said the Summit will see discussions on "values we stand for" including women's empowerment, anti-poverty and health.

The US envoy added, "But also for us, the invasion of other countries. That there should not be a world of aggression and violence. But that shouldn't stop us from working on all of the things that we prioritise - whether it's the environment, climate, the world economy, looking at debt for countries in the developing world. I think you're gonna see substance that couldn't have happened if we didn't have months and months of meetings that have been very successful, curated by India, across India. And I'm very optimistic that we'll see some good things coming."

When asked on the objections raised by China and Russia against the outcome document to the G20 Health Ministers' Meeting, Garcetti said, "At different times, both have raised issues with the language that reflects that there was a consensus last year in Bali which is that there can be a footnote for those countries or country. But the rest of the world clearly sees aggression, knows aggression and stands against aggression.

Then you move on to the rest of the substance, because even a war of aggression shouldn't stop us from talking about health, the economy, looking at the climate, and other strategic considerations. So, we are hopeful that that will be the formula that will be successful."

He also expressed confidence that India's relationships with multiple nations can bring them together to agree on these issues. "I hope that other countries will defer to India's leadership. When you host, you should be able to bring some priorities, whether it's the Prime Minister's LiFE initiative that looks at the way our behaviour affects the environment, or the focus you've had on a digital public infrastructure and looking at the ways you can empower people, even at the lowest economic levels, by new technology," he added.

Speaking on India-China relations, Eric Garcetti said the US is "India's friend, and we're here to support India, as we have in the past". He added, "We engage with China as well. But we will not sell our principles and you don't sell your principles for those engagements. We want good relations with China. We want stability in those relationships. But as your own leaders have said, there are certain lines, both literal and figurative, that need to be dealt with. And we're incredibly supportive of that. We never look at engagement as a bad thing. That's for two countries other than us to do, but we support that and we support our friend in any way that they need."

Garcetti also commented on a US court staying the extradition of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana to India where he will face a trial for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. He said the extradition of the Canadian businessman to India will happen soon. The US envoy said Rana's lawyers will present the argument and the US government will respond by November. "We do believe that people need to pay the price. And we do believe in this extradition," he added.