Washington: The relationship between the world’s two largest democracies has deepened in intensity, matured in character and expanded in scope, India’s outgoing ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has said.
Sandu, 61, who retires later this month from the foreign service after more than 35 years. on Wednesday made these remarks at a farewell ceremony held in his honour with the community leaders at the India House here.
“India, United States relationship has deepened in intensity, matured in character, and expanded in scope, as I say so many times that it touches almost all spheres of human activity: tech, trade, defence, space, healthcare, education, skilling, people to people, space ties,” Sandhu said in his address on Wednesday at a farewell ceremony held in his honour with the community leaders at the India House here.
During his service, Sandhu has served in the US three times, the last being India’s Ambassador to the US for four years.
So much is happening in these areas. And this transformation, as most of you have seen, has happened in the last 10 years. In fact, some friends are here,… when we conducted the nuclear test in 1998, the sanctions were put on India. That was my first exposure and experience with challenging times, he said.
I recall the late Ambassador Naresh Chandra, and I walked with him. I told him that there’s one setup, which I’m the liaison for, that is the US Congress. When there was difficulty in getting meetings outside, the US Congress will open its doors, and that’s why I say that the US Congress is the pioneer in creating the foundation of this relationship, Sandhu said.
During his term as India’s Ambassador to the US, he met more than 300 Congressmen and about 75 Senators.
I must say in each of those interactions, we found positivity. And that’s where my own positivity came out, that whatever crisis the United States, India partnership is there to remain and progress ahead, Sandhu said.
I will say that we have still reached the tip of the iceberg. This is so much to be covered, he said.
Senator Mark Warner, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus applauded Sandhu for his service and building the bilateral ties.
I will make one prediction that while Ambassador Sandhu may be leaving this post, I believe and I hope with all my heart, that he has more public service in his future, Warner said.
John Podesta, senior advisor to the president for clean energy innovation and implementation praised the ambassador for his role in strengthening the India-U.S. relationship.
We’ve developed a great friendship and a great partnership and our government has done tremendous work together, he said.
Senator Jon Ossoff from Georgia said that the Ambassador helped in resolving several of the agricultural disputes and tariff issues between the two countries. Senator Amy Klobuchar said that this is a relationship between the countries that has always been strong but is on the move in the right direction.
We can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. But thank you for your incredible service, she said.
Nisha Desai Biswal, Deputy CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation speaking at the farewell ceremony said that Ambassador Sandhu has been working on this relationship for over three decades.
In his many different tours of duty he has been working to ensure that this relationship is not just government to government, that it is not just about ties between our parliaments, but that it reflects the really deep and rich relationship between our people, she said.
He recognised very early on the importance of the diaspora community in elevating this relationship. In my very first work in Congress as a staffer, I will say Ambassador Sandhu in his role as the political officer of the embassy, was constantly exhorting all of us to say that there must be more ambition in the US-India relationship. You must think about ways to deepen that collaboration. And I just have to say that his instinct for this relationship as being foundational for not just our two governments, but our two societies, has been a really important aspect of how this partnership has developed over the decades, she said.
During the event, Sandhu was presented with an award on behalf of the Buddha Dal Sikh Organisation in recognition of his contribution towards Sikh and the legacy of his family.
Sikh community leader Sukhpal Singh Dhanoa told the audience that it was decided at the time of 200 years of Baba Pholla Singh’s birth anniversary to present this award to the ambassador.
Bawa Jaswinder Singh, the US head of the organisation, presented the award on behalf of Baba Balbir Singh, its India head.
A successor to Sandhu has not been announced, yet.