WASHINGTON: Indiaspora, an organisation of prominent Indian Americans, hosted an event for community leaders in Washington DC earlier this week.
Indian ambassador to the US, Taranjit Sandhu; Atul Keshap, who recently served as US charge d’affaires in Delhi; Indian American Congressmen Ami Bera and Raja Krishnamoorthi; Neera Tanden, senior advisor to President Joe Biden; Dr Meena Seshamani, director of center for medicare; former US ambassador to India, Rich Verma and Nisha Biswal, president of US-India Business Council, were some of the prominent guests at the event.
This was the first time since the pandemic that important community leaders; Indiaspora members and many of the recently appointed Indian American officials in the Biden administration, got together.
“The time has come for us to get serious about where the next frontier is in US-India ties,” Nisha Desai Biswal, president of US India Business Council
said at the dinner. Neither for the United States nor for India, two of the largest economies in the world, is it tenable to be outside of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to not have a trade architecture in place between themselves, she added.
“We are starting to see real signals of interest from India to be able to explore that. So, I think the time has come to get serious. It’s not easy. It’s a path riddled with all kinds of obstacles,” she said.
“I’ve heard it described to me that trade negotiations are a knife fight in a dark alley. It’s time for us to put down the knives, turn on the light, get down to business,” she said in a lighter vein and urged the powerful group of Indian Americans to engage the two governments on the issue.
In her brief remarks on the occasion, Neera Tanden, senior advisor to President Biden, said it is critical to have Indian-Americans at the table, contributing, involved and engaged in helping make decisions. “As many have said before, if you are not at the table, you are on the menu. That is why your voices are so important, your role here in everything you do is so important.”
Former US ambassador to India, Richard Verma
, said the recent successful visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a new chapter in this important bilateral relationship. “We’ve got to all now work on it. The president gave us the roadmap to follow on trade and health and climate and security and so much more. I'm actually pretty excited about the bilateral ties and even broader Quadrilateral ties as well,” he said. Indian-American congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi
and Ami Bera also spoke on the occasion. Krishnamoorthi thanked the diaspora for their outpouring of support for pandemic relief. (With inputs from PTI)