The Federation of Indian Associations-NYNJCT, held a reception for India’s new Consul General
The Federation of Indian Association of NY, NJ, CT (FIA Tristate) formally welcomed the newly-appointed Consul General of India in New York Aug. 7, 2020, at the Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, New Jersey.
Consul General Randhir Kumar Jaiswal took over July 19, succeeding former CG Sandeep Chakravorty.
The FIA reception was kept to a select group because of New Jersey state and local restrictions and regulations on gatherings during the COVID pandemic.
Every guest’s temperature was checked by FIA volunteers led by Smita Miki Patel, before they entered the hall for the gathering. Each guest was handed a complementary face covering as well.
Leaders of FIA, prominent members of the Indian-American community and members of the press attended the event. Guests observed social distancing guidelines throughout except during photo opps.
Andy Bhatia, member of the FIA Board of Trustees, conducted the proceedings of the evening.
Executive members of FIA including President Anil Bansal, Chairman Ankur Vaidya, Senior Advisors Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir S. Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, as well as Padma Shri H. R. Shah, chairman of TV Asia, among others, welcomed Consul General Jaiswal and Deputy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha.
Among the speakers at the event was Dr. V. K. Raju, founder and president of the Eye Foundation of America, who dwelt on the importance of vision and the role his organization plays in restoring eyesight for the underprivileged community in India and around the world.
Mahesh Bhagia, chairman of the Edison Democratic Party, delivered a Proclamation from the State Assembly to Consul General Jaiswal.
Dipak Patel, member of the FIA Board of Trustees, introduced the Consul General.
Prior to being appointed the Consul General of India in New York, Jaiswal was the Joint Secretary cum Social Secretary to the President of India Ram Nath Kovind, heading the foreign affairs office at Rashtrapati Bhavan and advising the President on India’s foreign policy.
Prior to that he served as the Consul General of India in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In his address, Consul General Jaiswal thanked the FIA for a warm welcome, and acknowledged the contributions made by the community in various fields.
“The Indian story all over the world is very engrossing, very deep” he said. “It is a story that carries a message of peace and harmony.” Consul General Jaiswal lauded the FIA for putting a stamp on New York City with its flagship India Day Parade “which has become iconic, not just in New York and in this country, but all over the world.”
He said the Indian-American story is that of “peace and progress,” as well as a story of “sharing and caring for others.” And that, he said, is what defines the community and has also become its identity.
He urged the community to keep playing a pivotal role in “strengthening the friendship between the U.S. and India, which is going to be a defining pathway of the century.”
He said he is looking forward to the time when the Indian-American community “will have a stronger imprint of our strength, of our hard work, of our identity, culture, color, and vibrancy, in this country and everywhere else.”
He appreciated the community’s support and good wishes, as he carries out his responsibilities as a representative of the Government of India.
The Consulate will “have an engaging relationship with the FIA,” he said, and added that during this time of the pandemic “we have to see how to hold each other’s hands and see how best we can help each other.”
He looked forward to interacting with the Indian-American community which is full of “great ideas and great energy,” he said, and assured those present that the the Consulate General of Indian in New York is “looking forward to supporting the FIA next year when it will celebrate 50 years. He along with his colleague Deputy Consul General Sinha and the entire team in New York is “here for you whenever you need us.”
Prominent members of the community first met the Consul General on July 19, a few hours after his arrival in New York. He administered the oath of office to FIA’s new executive committee. “No sooner than I arrived in New York, I had the opportunity to engage with a few members of the Indian American community when I swore-in the new FIA team,” which he said he would not forget all his life.
Several FIA leaders spoke on the occasion as well.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh praised Consul General Jaiswal for his many talents and urged greater engagement with the second generation Indian-American youth in the country during his stay here. He also offered his services to strengthen U.S.-India relations and said his Parikh Foundation of India’s Global Development as well as his media outlets are on the ready to assist in any way possible when needed.
Chairman of FIA Ankur Vaidya noted that the Consul General’s unique bond with FIA established on the first day of his arrival, would be carried forward by the FIA. and even strengthened further. The lines between the Consulate and the FIA “are so blurred that sometimes we forget we are two entities and not one,” Vaidya.
President of FIA Anil Bansal welcomed the Consul General and assured him of the continued support of the organization. “We are here with our love of India and ready to do what is needed and necessary. The Consulate can depend on us to do the utmost whenever needed,” Bansal said.
H.R. Shah recited two poetic verses (shairi) and said he looked forward to seeing Consul General make the light shine on the Indian community in the U.S.