State Dept official praises Indian Americans as backbone of US-India relations

Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu and other State Department officials at the Jain Temple in Southern California April 24, 2024. PHOTO: ANI

Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, visited a Jain Temple in California where he praised Indian-Americans for playing a significant role in strengthening the bilateral relationship with India.

Lu expressed gratitude for the opportunity to connect with the Jain community in Southern California, and acknowledged their significant contributions to the broader Los Angeles area.
He emphasized the vital role of Indian-Americans in strengthening the relationship between India and US.
“Indian-Americans are the backbone of our strong relationship with India. It was wonderful to connect with the Jain community in Southern California and learn about their many contributions to the wider Los Angeles area,” he said.

Community leader Ajay Bhutoria welcomed Lu along with Senior Advisor for Domestic Outreach Jennifer Miller and Marissa Morales, Administrative Support Specialist to the Assistant Secretary, to the temple.

They met the Southern California Jain temple leadership team, which included JAINA Past Jain President Mahesh Wadher, Jain Temple President Sameer Shah, Vice President Ketan Shah and executive team members. JAINA is the acronym for Federation of Jain Associations in North America.

Their gathering aimed to foster dialogue and stronger understanding between the US State Department and the Jain community in the US.

During the visit, President Sameer Shah, Mahesh Wadher and the temple executive team shared valuable insights into Jainism, its food and fasting traditions and practices, philosophy of non-violence, Lord Mahavir message of Peace, Compassion and Non violence .

They also shared insights on community outreach and philanthropic work carried out by JAINA and the Jain temple to support individuals both locally in Los Angeles and others parts of US and also in India and Nigeria.

The Jain Temple of Southern California is a spiritual and cultural hub for the Jain community in the region, and the executive team conveyed that the temple also provides a space for worship, learning, and community service.

Bhutoria shed light on the Anuvrat Digital Detox Program initiated by Jain Terapanth Sect Acharya Mahasharman ji, and emphasized the program’s benefits to human relationships, mental health, and emotional intelligence.
He urged Assistant Secretary Lu to consider integrating the Digital Detox program into the State Department’s initiatives to support mental health and well being.

Additionally, concerns regarding delays in visitor visa appointments in India were also raised by the community.

Bhutoria expressed his appreciation for the State Department team’s visit to the Jain temple, highlighting the importance of Lord Mahavir’s message of promoting peace, non-violence, and compassion.

Bhutoria also stressed that the India-US relationship is strongest under President Joe Biden and Secretary Blinken and these people to people dialogues would further strengthen the US India relationship and help promote US Interests and shared values.



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