New Delhi: US Ambassador Richard R. Verma on Thursday said Indian students played an important role in helping build closer ties between the two countries.
"You are doing this for maybe your individual career pursuits, but I also want to tell you how important it is to our two countries, as we both are building closer and closer relations as the president and prime minister have been working on," Verma said on the occasion of Student Visa Day here.
"The work that you do at your individual level is important and what you are doing is (pulling) our two countries together and that's a great thing for peace and prosperity," he added.
Marked by the US Embassy, the Student Visa Day saw Verma interacting with students and handing over passports to two students with issued visas, going to the United States to pursue higher studies.
Last year Indian students in the US contributed $3.3 billion to the US economy.
According to a fact sheet issued by the embassy, the nearly 1,03,000 Indian students in the US are more than double the number of students 15 years ago, with student visa applications across India increasing by 60 percent last year.
It added that 78 per cent of Indian students opt to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Engineering is the most popular major, followed by computer science.
Addressing students, Verma said that interaction between people from different countries tends to break down stereotypes.
"People get educated, people learn a lot. And I think the benefits the American students will have from all of you, is that they hear about your backgrounds and your stories...learning takes place between the students which is just as impactful as the learning that comes from the teachers," he said.