Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold and Indian American community welcome India’s Consul General in New York

From left, Amit Kumar Sharma, VFS, Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, Congressman Frank Pallone, D-NJ, India’s Consul General Binaya S. Pradhan, Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold Dr. Sudhir Parikh, pose for a photo at the May 30, 2024, welcome event for CG in Edison, NJ, at PWM/ITV Gold headquarters.PHOTOS: ITV Gold

India’s Consul General in New York Binaya Srikanta Pradhan was welcomed at the Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold headquarters in Edison, NJ, May 30, where he met with leaders of the Indian American community. In his speech, CG Pradhan thanked Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of PWM/ITV Gold, for the opportunity to meet “such a distinguished galaxy of people who are accomplished people and have contributed a lot to the India-US partnership.”

Close to 200 people, including elected officials as well as leaders of numerous community organizations, attended the welcome reception for India’s Consul General Binay S. Pradhan at the Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold headquarters in Edison, May 30, 2024.

Elected leaders present included Congressman Frank Pallone, D-NJ, Mayor of Woodbridge John McCormac, as well as close to 200 Indian Americans. They represented various organizations like the Federation of Indian Associations, the Indian Business Association, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, SWAJJAN, Share and Care, Life Global, Federation of Indian Seniors Associations of North America, Rajasthan Association of North America, Yogi Divine Society, Shradhaa Foundation, Vegetarian Vision, to name some.

From left, Amit Kumar Sharma, VFS Global, Mayor of Woodbridge Township John McCormac, India’s Consul General Binaya S. Pradhan, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and Congressman Frank Pallone, on stage at the May 30, 2024, reception for CG.
India’s Consul General Binaya S. Pradhan

The Consul General dwelt on the main goals of the Consulate in New York, the first Consulate established outside India in 1948. “Many people think that a Consulate’s primary job is consular work. That is one of our core works. But the other work is promotion of the bilateral relationship,” he said.

He traced the arc of the relationship between the two democracies especially over the last 50 years, “the whole cycle of how we were dealing with each other in the 1970s, how we were dealing after India’s nuclear tests, coming all the way up to this point where our relationship has reached a point where there is no turning back. It is ongoing upward now,” to become “the most consequential partnership that India has had.”

Parikh Worldwide Media called the meeting “a significant milestone in community collaboration,” under the guidance of Dr. Parikh and organized by COO Ilayas Quraishi to bring several community organizations under one roof.

Congressman Frank Pallone, D-NJ.
Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold Chairman, Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh

Congressman Pallone praised CG Pradhan’s diplomatic career and welcomed him to New York and the US. “There are so many reasons why the consul general’s position is so important,” and CG Pradhan’s career proved he was “more than qualified” to handle the US-India relationship which spanned everything from national security to trade and common values of democracy, he noted.

Amit Kumar Sharma of VFS Global

Mayor McCormac’s spoke enthusiastically about how Indian immigrants had built Woodbridge and Iselin as powerhouses for commerce and culture.

Mayor of Woodbridge Township John McCormac

“Consul General you’re in a in an area now that wasn’t always this good. Oak Tree Road and Green Street in the excellent section of Woodbridge town in the ‘90s was not good. It was struggling. There were biker bars there were boarded up buildings and it was just nothing to be proud of. That, with no economy in Iselin downtown. There were was nothing happening,” he recalled.

All that changed when Indian immigrants began settling from the early 1990s, bringing their entrepreneurship and skills to invest, purchasing buildings, turning them into jewelry shops and restaurants “to the point where within 10 or so years, this was a very, very prominent downtown Asian Indian business district and now I would put this up against any district in the state or even the country,” he added.

Dr. Parikh, in his speech, noted how close Indian Americans were to India, and his goal of connecting the next generation to the Motherland.  “We have to make sure they have to understand what is important about Mother India and why we should work and help Mother India. And the only way to work for Mother India is through you, Sir, and your office,” Dr. Parikh said.

He noted CG Pradhan’s leadership in establishing an IIT in Tanzania and expressed the hope of doing the same in America.

Dr. Parikh expressed concern about Indian students, some of whom face mental health issues upon arriving here, and the number of students who had died over several months. In that context he noted his collaboration with CG Pradhan to establish a network of Indian American specialists to help students. “So I put together some 12 psychiatrists throughout the country to give them pro bono psychiatric counseling,” Dr. Parikh noted.

FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya

Chairman of FIA Ankur Vaidya, while introducing CG Pradhan, thanked Dr. Parikh and Quraishi for setting up the event.  “Introducing our honorable minister to the Indian American community here at home in Edison New Jersey, I think it’s going to yield a very fruitful outcome and enhance the interaction and synergy between the Consul General and the community,” Vaidya said. He urged CG Pradhan to consider opening an office in Edison, a one-stop shop, to facilitate consular and other services for the large Indian community, especially for seniors, and Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Zs to encourage travel to India.

Dr. Avinash Gupta, president of FIA

Dr. Avinash Gupta, president of FIA echoed Vaidya’s comments.

Raj Pandya, Indian Business Association

Amit Kumar Sharma (Head of VFS America), outlined their services provided on behalf of the Embassy and Consulate General to those interested in traveling to India.

Sumul Raval, secretary of AAPI

Sumul Raval, AAPI secretary, invited the Consul General and those present to the upcoming World Health Congress scheduled to be held in NYC in July.

Robert Greenberger of AristaCare
Mukund Thakar of Indian nursing home of AristaCare

Indian Business Association leader Raj Pandya, also addressed the gathering. Other speakers included former NJ Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula; Robert Greenberger, head of AristaCare, the long-term care facility; Dr. Mukund Thakar who specializes in care of Indian seniors at AristaCare; and Bharat Rana of FISANA, the umbrella organization for seniors.

India’s Consul General BInaya S. Pradhan, answers a question from the audience during the May 30, 2024, welcome event at Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold headquarters in Edison, NJ. Looking on are Amit Kumar Sharma, VFS Global, left, and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, right.

Several ideas were discussed during the Q & A session, moderated by Sanjiv Pandya.



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