NCAIA celebrates India’s 75th Republic Day in Virginia

NCAIA Board Members presenting the Best Ambassador Award to Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu on January 27, 2024, at Langley High School, in McLean, Virginia. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

McLean, Virginia: Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Winsome Sears discussed the similarities in the constitutions of the United States and India at India’s 75th Republic Day celebrations hosted by the National Council of Asian Indian Associations (NCAIA), at Langley High School, on January 27, 2024.

Highlighting key words enshrined in the constitutions of both countries, Sears said, “So you’ve heard the same words – justice, liberty, unity, and union. Those are held common in your home country of India. And with our chosen country of America…”

She further added, “So I ask you – can you have justice without liberty? Can you have liberty without unity? So how wonderful that we can come together today to celebrate liberty” while acknowledging key contributions by Indian-Americans to the Commonwealth and to the world.

Noting that she’s an immigrant of Jamaica, Sears conveyed “I understand the challenges and the struggles of becoming an American.”

NCAIA Board Members honoring Lt. Governor of Virginia, Winsome Sears on January 27, 2024, at Langley High School, in McLean, Virginia. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Sears also mentioned the connections she perceives between herself and India. She said, she was named after her mother’s best friend, a Jamaican-Indian; both Jamaicans and Indians love education; and the father of US Vice-President Kamala Harris, an Indian-American, is from Jamaica.

Encouraging people “to live together in peace and harmony,” irrespective of political affiliations, Sears stressed “Education, though, is key” and urged the younger generation about the importance of a good education.

“When I see all of you, I see beauty. I see people who contribute to the great fabric of our commonwealth and our nation. And I say I am so glad to be with you,” Sears added while thanking Indian-Americans for their contributions in arts and technology, business, politics, and other sectors.

Sears also read a Certificate of Recognition from her office that stated, “The celebration of India’s 75th Republic Day together with National Council of Asian Indian Associations, and Virginia’s wonderful, vibrant Indian American community, the Lieutenant Governor celebrates the 75th Republic Day of India. This occasion serves as a reminder of the treasure of liberty and the diverse cultures and traditions that enrich the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

India’s Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Sandhu, who was the Chief Guest at the event, expressed his delight in participating in the celebrations, especially at Langley High School just before his retirement at the end of the month. He recalled, “I’m so happy that I’ve come to this school, where I’d come to see the July fireworks in 1997,” when he was posted first as a young diplomat in this country.

In his address, Sandhu commended the success of Indian-Americans in healthcare, digital, and STEM areas and said their success is “seen as part of the success of United States.” He also applauded the signing of a Tech partnership between United States and India at the White House by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2023, while underscoring the significance of PM Modi’s State Visit.

Crediting Indian-Americans for the successful State Visit, Sandhu said, “That recognition to India has come, thanks to all the success which all of you have achieved or your parents have achieved.”

Discussing the healthcare partnership between both countries, Sandhu mentioned that towards the end of President Barack Obama’s tenure, Rotavirus, a vaccine for children was developed. Initially priced at $60, the cost of the vaccine significantly dropped to $1 when the co-production commenced with India, through a US-India partnership.

Similarly, he said, in collaboration between Baylor College in Texas and Biological-E Limited, a COVID vaccine, Corbevax, was developed as part of a US-India partnership. Presently, priced at $1.50, this vaccine has also been distributed to underprivileged communities in Africa, Latin America, CARICOM, and the Indo-Pacific region highlighting the joint efforts of both nations.

Pointing out India’s progress in the last 75 years, he spoke about the digital revolution through which more than 1.3 billion people have digital identities. “Today, revolutionary changes are taking place in India, also in US-India relations. And therefore, it is important that your children and your families are aware of India [and] stay connected with India,” he added.

Washington Bureau Chief of News India Times, T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman receiving a Distinguished Service Award from Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu and Lt. Governor of Virginia, Winsome Sears on January 27, 2024, at Langley High School, in McLean, VA. PHOTO: Nandini Selvam

On the occasion, NCAIA recognized five people with Distinguished Service Awards: Nayna Desai, Lalita Kaul, T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, Satish Korpe, and Kumar (A.P.) Singh for their achievements in various fields. The awards were presented by Ambassador Sandhu, and Lt. Governor Sears.

NCAIA Chairman-Trustee, Sunil Singh welcomed Ambassador Sandhu, and NCAIA’s Chairman, Kripa Singh; President, Yogendra Gupta; Senior Advisor, Alok Srivastava; Chair of Souvenir Committee, Rajaram Srinivasan; Cultural coordinator, Meenal Singh; and a Member of the Virginia Asian Advisory Board, Srilekha Palle also spoke at the event. Cultural groups from the DMV area presented dance and singing performances as well.



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