Washington: The US-India relationship is significant not only for the two countries but also for the global good, outgoing Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has said, stressing that the bilateral ties are destined to grow big.
Addressing a group of some 200 eminent Indian Americans from across the US on Saturday, Sandhu urged them to ensure that the second generation remains connected to India and that they travel to the country frequently.
“This relationship is very important and significant, not only for our two countries but for the global good,” Sandhu, who retires from the Indian Foreign Service at month-end after an illustrious 35-year, said.
Sandhu retires from the Indian Foreign Service at month-end after an illustrious 35-year.
“You must ensure that your children remain invested in India; they travel to India. Like so many other communities here in the United States, you can ensure through your associations, through your groups because all of you can afford them going to India,” he said.
“If there’s any issue regarding the security of the children, I can assure you the embassy and the consulates will help you out. We’ll organise that so that it’s foolproof. They have support when they go. But do send them because tomorrow they will be in a unique position. If they know India well, they will be hired by most of the international companies that will be moving into India,” Sandhu said.
The relationship between two countries, he said is destined to grow in the coming years.
“Whether it’s affordable healthcare or it is energy or it is technology, startups, innovation, new emerging technologies, the US-India relationship is destined to grow big,” he said.
Sandhu has been instrumental in opening the Indian Consulate in Seattle, the sixth one after New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and San Francisco. He also told the diaspora that two more Indian consulates would soon open in the US.
“The Indian American community has given us a lot of pride. We have two more consulates which have been promised and we hope that those two will also open quickly,” he said.
Sandhu said during his term as the ambassador, he has spoken to at least 44 governors of different States of the United States.
“Met so many of the mayors because having spent time here, I understand that a lot of authority is there in the States and the cities. A lot of business can be done there and that’s why all of you have a very, very critical role to play. You have played it in the past but still, it’s the tip of the iceberg,” Sandhu said.
In their remarks, during the virtual farewell reception that lasted for more than two hours, Indian Americans applauded the leadership of the ambassador and the progress made in the India-US relationship during his tenure.
Smita Shah, president of Span Tech from Chicago said that this is the great relationship that Amb Sandhu has been able to help deepen in his time here.
“I’m personally so grateful because not always do people remember, not just the senior members of the community, but the women, the other young members, and you always make everyone feel connected,” she said.
“His tenure has been characterised by diplomacy at its finest and a testament of his leadership and dedication to fostering international harmony. Ambassador Sandhu, you will be sincerely missed and your legacy of friendship and collaboration will endure. We extend our best wishes for your future endeavours, confident that your contributions will continue to shape relations between our two nations USA and India,” said Indiana-based businessman Raju Chintala.
“In a simple one sentence, I can say that you defined us as an Indian American. You defined us as who we are. You defined us as where we stand as an Indian American. And when we walk in the USA, we can say that we get the respect we never used to get as an Indian American,” said Dhaval Vaishnav, from Detroit.
“I would also like to say that on behalf of the entire Michigan community and business leaders, we are extremely proud to have you and we’ll miss you because your service was unparalleled and you have given us something and you have set your bar so high that it would be hard to fill,” Vaishnav added.
Ajay Jain Bhutoria from Silicon Valley in California said that Sandhu has been a stalwart diplomat whose leadership has been pivotal in elevating the US-India bilateral relationship to unprecedented heights.
“Ambassador Sandhu, you are not just a skilled diplomat; you are a visionary who has significantly shaped the trajectory of the 21st-century bilateral relationship between the United States and India,” he said.
“Ambassador Sandhu, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, undertook the challenging role of Ambassador to the United States in early 2020. Navigating a transformative period under two administrations, first led by Donald Trump and then by Joe Biden, he infused the relationship with a truly bipartisan flavour, showcasing his diplomatic skills,” he said.
“His impact reverberates across various domains – from fostering trade relations to strengthening defence partnerships, promoting educational exchanges, and contributing to the Quad partnership. Notably, his strategic vision played a key role in landmark events, such as Prime Minister Modi’s state lunch, opening the doors for over 5,000 community members to partake in the historic welcome on the White House south lawn,” Bhutoria said.