New Delhi (Agencies): The US on Friday described India as one of the "growing engines" of world economy with an enviable growth rate and said the bilateral ties were progressing in a "great direction".

"Now we have India growing at 9 per cent per year. The country is one of the growing engines of world economy," US Ambassador Timothy Roemer said addressing a function to celebrate the American National Day.

Reflecting the growing convergence in the relationship, he said the ties between the two countries were progressing very overwhelmingly as cooperation and collaborations are happening in diverse areas.

"There is so much progress in the relationship in the last few years...It is growing in a great direction," he said.

Roemer said that after appointing him as Ambassador of India, President Barack Obama had asked him to "shake hands with the billion people in the country" and the piece of advice is "beginning to work".

Addressing the gathering at the Embassy, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said "three successive US Presidents in this century had made vast personal contribution towards transformation of India-US relationship."

"I had just returned from a very productive visit to United States. It underscored once again not just the quality and level of India-US engagements but also unparalleled breadth and diversity in our relationship," she said.

"The excitement and the energy in our relationship comes from the shared democratic values, the common celebration of pluralism, the energy of our youths, the dynamism of our open societies, the power of innovation, the potential of our economic partnership, the growing conversion of our interest and responsibility of our shared commitment to global peace and prosperity," she said.

Roemer said the National Day celebration has been preponed to February from July 4.