By Jatinder Singh Bedi
Chicago, April 15 (Punjabkhabar Bureau): Setting his sights on building upon the existing bipartisan support across the United States’ politico-economic spectrum, India’s new Ambassador Navtej Sarna has laid out “‘Defense and Security Relationship,’ ‘Relationship Against Terrorism,’ ‘Increase in Trade and Investment,’ and ‘Vibrant People-to-People Contact’” as the KRAs (Key Result Area) of his Ambassadorial tenure.
Sarna attended a lunch with prominent members of the Sikh community from across the Midwest. He was honoured with a Siropa and a Kirpan during the lunch. The Ambassador called upon the Sikhs to engage in aggressive mainstream outreach of their Sikhism-related activities. He encouraged them to organise extensive programmes and activities to commemorate 350 Birth Anniversary of the Sikhs’ Tenth Guru Shri Guru Gobind Singh
Ambassador Navtej Sarna was addressing some select-NRIs during his maiden visit to Chicago on 05 April 2017. Speaking to the audience, he stressed the need to take diaspora’s inherited achievements “a notch up.” He expressed assurance that “in the coming months” all these segments of Indo-US engagement are “poised for growth.”
Envisioning “a particular future for cooperation” between India and the Midwestern America, Ambassador Sarna pinpointed the Industry, Trade, Finance, Education, and Manufacturing as the areas to be pursued. Describing Chicago as an “interesting and important place,” he stated that “Chicago has much to offer.” He touched upon the possibility of enhancing the scope of Prime Minister Modi’s huge Smart City Program through intra-city cooperation with region’s advanced cities like Chicago. Briefly referring to his interactions with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, and with Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ambassador Sarna stated that “Chicago itself has deep links, and we [India] have much to gain by cooperation.” These are the areas that need to be actualised, Ambassador added.
Speaking about his interaction with the US lawmakers and Academia, Ambassador informed that he is amazed at the very positive and warm feelings about India that he experienced across the bipartisan spectrum. He stated that Americans recognize India as a major partner; a democracy that has proved its democratic traditions before the world; and an economy that is going to be the most important of all in the coming years.”
This was Ambassador Navtej Sarna’s first ever visit to Chicago. On landing, he first visited the hall at the Art Institute Chicago where Swami Vivekananda has given his famous speech in 1893. Paying his tributes Swami Vivekanada’s contribution, Ambassador Sarna said, “Swami Vivekananda brought ancient spirituality of India into Western consciousness.” It was he, who for the first time brought India into the heart of western world, Ambassador added. It is this message that India, today, is carrying along with the message of development. Ambassador said that modern India is a nation that offers a unique package combining its ancient wisdom, and its unique multicultural traditions with most modern development, innovation, and growth.
In a direct mention of the NRIs, he informed that the “importance of the Indian American community is … recognized and cherished by the Government of India. It’s a reality which is impacting the US polity and economy.” He described the NRIs as a part of larger picture of India US engagement. “Somewhere we are all pitching into a rich tapestry of India US engagement,” Ambassador Navtej Sarna added.
Earlier Neeta Bhushan, Chicago-based Consul General of India welcomed Ambassador Navtej Sarna on his first visit to Chicago. Emphasizing the importance of her Midwest jurisdiction, Neeta Bhushan informed that the Midwest contributed a mega share to the total of Indo-US Trade. She also introduced the regional diaspora as “dynamic and vibrant.” She mentioned about the keen interest taken by Governor Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel in promoting ties with India. It needs a mention that the Midwestern US is comprised of 9 states with a combined GDP of over USD 2.2 Trillion. Its total of over USD 607 Billon trade includes USD 4 Billion imports from India, and USD 2.5 Billion export to India, as per the last compiled figures. Over 50 companies from five Midwestern states have invested in India.
Neeta Bhushan also acknowledged the presence of Neeraj Gupta, Secretary Investment and Public Assets management. Neeraj Gupta was then in town in connection with the Road Shows that he is undertaking in Boston and New York region. This was the first reception hosted by the new Consul General in Chicago.
Earlier in the day, Ambassador Navtej Sarna attended a Lunch with prominent members of the Sikh community from across the Midwest. He was honored with a Siropa and a Kirpan during the lunch. Ambassador called upon the Sikhs to engage in aggressive mainstream outreach of their Sikhism-related activities. He encouraged them to organize extensive programs and activities to commemorate 350 Birth Anniversary of Sikhs’ Tenth Guru Shri Guru Gobind Singh.