Lawmakers Praise India and Indian-American Community at Capitol Hill

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Indian Ambassador to US, Taranjit Sandhu addressing the gathering at the Capitol Hill reception to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence on September 14th. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Washington DC: More than 75 organizations from across the US came together to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence and the glorious history of its people, culture, and achievements in a community reception, on September 14, 2022, at Capitol Hill. The event was well attended by members of US Congress, Indian Embassy officials, Indian-American White House officials, and CEOs, and delegations of community organizations, who praised India’s progress and many achievements and contributions of the Indian-American community.

Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold served as media partners along with TV Asia and World BB and APP at the reception.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi addressing the gathering at the Capitol Hill reception to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence on September 14th. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Welcoming everyone, Dr. Jashvant Patel, President of Sardar Patel Fund for Sanatan Sanskriti, a member of the organizing committee, stated, “as a community, we are proud of the significant strides we have made in the past 75 years. This includes everything from advancements in healthcare, technology, human rights, sustainability, environmental health and other areas. The beauty of India is its rich culture, and diversity. The country is home to many languages, religions, and cuisines.”

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“Members of our diaspora have always been admirable ambassadors for our nation. They have spread the fragrance of Indian values by living them – respecting all cultures, mingling seamlessly and enriching societies with their unique contributions,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his message.

Complimenting the Indian-American diaspora and Indian-Americans in the US administration, Indian Ambassador to US, Taranjit Sandhu thanked the organizers of the event and the collaborating organizations. While greeting everyone on the occasion, Sandhu reminded that India is also celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations between US and India. He noted, “it’s also indeed a special occasion for me to be celebrating this at US Capitol. The US Congress has played a special role in cementing this fantastic relationship, which we are celebrating today. I have seen this for the last 25 years from way back in 1997, when I came here as a young officer who handled congressional relations,” adding, “at that time Congressman Frank Pallone, Congressman Gary Ackerman, and many others were pioneers in pushing for this strong relationship.”

Guests and community leaders with the Indian Ambassador to US, Taranjit Sandhu at the Capitol Hill reception to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence on September 14th. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Addressing the gathering on a virtual call, India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mansukh Mandaviya, stated that the US-India bilateral relationship has touched new heights in all dimensions due to strong focus on productivity, growth, and job creation. He went on to state that during the pandemic, India’s engagement with the world was built on the concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family), where India not only met its own medicine requirements but also supplied to the rest of the world.

Special Assistant to President Joe Biden and Senior Director for the Global Health Security and Biodefense, Raj Panjabi, highlighted that Biden has appointed 130 Indian-Americans across the government. He shared Biden’s message, “as people around the world, including nearly 4 million Indian Americans celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence on August 15th, the United States joins the people of India to honor its democratic journey guided by Mahatma Gandhi’s enduring message of truth and non-violence. India and the United States are indispensable partners, and the US-India Strategic Partnership is grounded in our shared commitment to the rule of law, promotion of human freedom and dignity.”

Welcoming everyone to Capitol Hill, Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) said “we are here to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the birth of India. I was born in India. I am one of those privileged people to be an immigrant and a naturalized citizen in the US Congress. I was joking with someone the other day, there’s something called the Make in India campaign. I was made in India. I’m one of the four Indian Americans on Capitol Hill. I call us affectionately the Samosa Caucus. And quite frankly, we need more samosas, pakoras, idlis, and vadas in the US Congress. Because, when Congress looks like America, it works better.”

Referring to India as one of the largest economies in the world, Krishnamoorthi congratulated India for its great technological developments, and agricultural inventions and stated that India’s greatest export is none other than its people. “Indian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant ethnic group in America, it is the most prosperous, and most educated immigrant group.”

Members of the Siddhivinayak Temple of NJ presenting a cultural performance to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence on September 14th at Capitol Hill. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Democratic Chair of the India Caucus, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) stated, “I’m thrilled to join the Indian American community to celebrate 75 years of independence and celebration of the people of India and the growth of Indian culture. The United States is the oldest democracy and India is the largest democracy and it is no surprise that US and India have formed an alliance dedicated to promoting democracy around the world.”

Sherman stressed the continued need to growing the US-India relationship, hence his focus on economic and security issues, to help deepen the bond between both the countries. “Whether it is authorizing assistance at the time COVID or co-sponsoring a bill to support our significant exchange of students through the Gandhi-King Scholarly exchange or recognizing the importance of culture and religious observances such as Diwali and Baishaki. I am a strong supporter of India and Indian-Americans.”

Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA) congratulating India for celebrating its 75 years of independence said, “I serve on the Armed Services Committee and really understand how important that relationship is between the United States and India. I had a chance to visit India myself about 20 years ago, and I look forward to visiting India soon.”

During her address, Indian-American Caucus member, Congresswoman Michelle Steel (R-CA) cautioned that China “very selfishly” is looking to expand and ultimately attempt to take over the whole world, further highlighting the importance for a strong US-India alliance. She conveyed that a lot of Indian-Americans represent California, and her pride in working with them.  She went on to state, “we even give out 5000 Hindi ballots in my district.”

Ajay Bhutoria, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, Nitin Vyas and H R Shah of World Vegan Vision, Narsimha Koppula of Hindu SwayamSevak Sangh, Aman Sinha, Supreme Court advocate in India, Dr. Amit Desai of US-India Relationship Council, Dr. Bharat Barai of US-India Friendship Council, Rakhi Israni of SEWA International USA, Nitin Seth, Chief Executive Officer at Incedo, Sajjan Agarwal, Chairman and CEO of Greenhawk Corporation also spoke at the event.

Additionally, the event hosted cultural performances by Anugraha Sridhar, Pandit Sandeep Mahavir, Bharat Balvalli, and Siddhivinayak Temple of NJ at the reception where prominent community organizations, such as NCAIA, ISKCON, GOPIO Silicon Valley, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, Global Indian Chamber of Commerce, Rajdhani Mandir, Yoga Sangeeta, and Jayalakshmi Datta Yoga Center were present.

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