From the Indian character Apu in The Simpsons in 1989 to the ubiquitous presence of Indians in high places in every field of endeavor today, Indian-Americans have come a long way, noted Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
Pai was speaking at the Nov. 6, 2019, launch of the North East New York Regional Chapter of the Indian American International Chamber of Commerce (IAICC) held at India’s Consulate in the Big Apple.
“As we all know, the world’s oldest democracy and its largest share common values and strategic interests. I’m grateful for this opportunity to help further the important relationship between the United States and India,” Pai said.
He also thanked IAICC President and CEO K.V. Kumar, the original founder of IAICC 30 years ago this September, and everyone at the Chamber for inviting him as keynote speaker to the official launch.
“It truly has been an astounding 30 years. It’s sometimes hard to remember how different things were for Indian-Americans back in 1989,” Pai said.
India’s Consul for Commerce at the Consulate Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, was Special Guest of Honor at the event. The Consulate’s ballroom was packed with a large number of business leaders and others, a press release from IAICC, said. Many others interested in attending could not be accommodated due to space constraints.
Chairman Pai recounted the growth and achievements of the Indian-American community, including his own life experiences in his speech. The Indian-American population has grown from about 800,000 in 1989 to over 4.5 million today, he noted.
Dwelling on success stories in fields of technology, business, entertainment, hospitality, including the sports world and identifying leaders in various industries and sectors, Pai said the IAICC’s work focused “on big-picture issues to promote a healthy U.S.-India relationship, expanded trade opportunities, and economic growth. But you focus mainly on small and medium-size businesses. That’s why you’re in the process of opening more than 50 chapters over a two-year span.”
Kumar, who has served in every White House administration since President Ronald Reagan according to his bio, told News India Times in a phone interview that IAICC currently has 17 chapters in the U.S., and will be opening four new chapters in December, Western Regional Chapter and California State Chapters; Massachusetts and New Hampshire State Chapters.
It also has several chapters in India, and is set to open chapters in Africa, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said Kumar who was formerly a member of the Trump-Pence National Asian & Pacific American Advisory Council. Kumar has received numerous awards over the years for his service.
“This (IAICC) is something I am very passionate about. And I am also inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi whom I met and introduced on Capitol Hill when he came in 2016, at the then Speaker Paul Ryan’s reception for him,” Kumar told News India Times.
At the Nov. 6 meeting in the Consulate, Rajat Bhatnagar, chairman of NH State Chapter, introduced emcees Dr. Nandini Selvam, president of “IAICC Forum for Women in Business & Leadership” and president, IAICC Virginia State Chapter, and California State Chapter Chair Priya Tandon. Selvam delivered the Pledge of Allegiance and Kirti Shukla delivered Indian and U.S. National Anthems.
Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Chairman of IAICC’S Board of Trustees lead the lamp-lighting ceremony and also introduced the Chairman Pai.
Dr. Parikh, who is the chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, also dwelt on some of the contributions of Indian- American leaders that helped bring a new generation of leaders in the country, such as Pai.
Shatrughna Sinha, Indian’s deputy consul general, welcomed Chairman Pai, special guest, organizers and attendees on behalf of the Consulate.
Appen Menon, chairman of IAICC welcomed distinguished guests, members and volunteers to the launch, “is a great milestone as this will establish a strong presence for IAICC in the financial capital of the world.”
Dr. Ravishankar Bhooplapur, regional chair of IAICC, introduced the Commerce Consul Mohapatra from the Indian Embassy.
Mohapatra detailed the current status of U.S. -India trade relations and thanked K.V. Kumar and IAICC Board for their contributions.
Kumar in his speech said the organization was delighted to launch New York Regional Chapter.
“IAICC chapters provide vital resources and act as a catalyst between businesses in the United States and India,” said Kumar. He also explained some of the major accomplishments of IAICC including its role in establishing the MoU between U.S. Small Business Administration, and India’s Department of Small and Medium Enterprises; the U.S.- India civil nuclear agreement; the U.S.- India Strategic Trade Alliance, etc., the press release said.
Kumar introduced the newly-appointed President of NE Region Mike Narula.
Kumar along with board members of IAICC presented appreciation plaques to Chairman Pai, Mohapatra and India’s Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty.
Jenal and Nehal Shah gave a dance performance. The communications director of IAICC, T.V. Jayaraman, Ph.D., introduced the organization’s secretary to the executive board, Glenn Falcao, who delivered the vote of thanks.
Since its inception in 1990, IAICC has been serving small business community and working tirelessly to improve U.S.- India relations and trade, said IAICC in its press release. “Currently, there are more than 600,000 Indian American owned businesses who can benefit from these IAICC programs,” it added. The IAICC hosts a number of events such as seminars and lectures in addition to supporting publication of reports by subject matter experts in different fields. For more information, visit www.iaicc.world.