S Jaishankar / Image: Supplied
External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar hailed the people-to-people ties between the United States and India as the “defining characteristic” of the bilateral relationship. He made the remarks during a community reception at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC on September 30.
“The role, responsibility, and contribution of the community to this relationship is something fantastic. There are really no words that can capture it. And it is on that foundation, that today we are looking ahead,” the Minister emphasized.
“Our relationship is at an all-time high, but as they say in America, you ain’t seen anything yet. So, we are going to take this relationship to a different level to a different place,” he asserted.
The community reception themed “Colors of Friendship” was organised by Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. Consul Generals from all Indian consulates in the U.S. attended the event along with prominent Indian Americans from government, business and academic fields. The event also celebrated the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Welcoming the diaspora and the guests, Ambassador Sandhu expanded on the theme of the celebration and said that the event will highlight the 4Ds that brighten the bilateral relationship between the two countries —diversity, democracy, development, and diaspora.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Verma lauded the contributions of Indian Americans to the bilateral ties. “It is the stories of hard work and risk taking of individuals, all of you here that have actually done the hard work in building US-India ties and making it one of the most consequential relationships of this century,” he said.
“When I first came to Washington, there were just a few people in the Clinton administration who were Indian American. And today, there are Indian Americans are all throughout the administration,” White House Domestic Policy Advisor, Neera Tanden said in her speech. “Thank you for the vision leadership, advocacy and strength of this community, which I know is such a vibrant part of American democracy,” she added.
Rep. Shri Thanedar announced the formation of the first congressional caucus on Hindus, Buddhist, Sikhs and Jains and said that its aim is to work towards addressing hate crimes and bigotry. “As a Congress person of Indian origin, I would work with the Indian government and with the United States government to ensure that we will have a strong relation between the oldest and the largest democracy in the world.”
As the event also commemorated the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, White House Drug czar, Dr. Gupta, in his speech spoke about his ideals and urged the diaspora to spread the great leader’s teachings. “Bapu believed in the inherent worth of dignity and worth of every human being and the power that we have in our individual transformation, our greatest ability he said as humans is not to change the world but to change ourselves,” Gupta said.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, director of the National Science Foundation, Nisha Biswal, deputy CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation and Congressman Rich McCormick also addressed the gathering. Cultural performances from different states of India were also presented as part of the event.