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News India Times January 24, 2020 4 Cover Story Envoy's Farewell – that’s all you need to know India's outgoing Ambassador to the U.S. was feted by community and business leaders before his departure By Sujeet Rajan ndia’s Ambassador to the United States HarshVardhan Shringla, who left for New Delhi this week to take on his new assignment as Foreign Secretary, had a series of high pro- file meetings inWashington, DC, last week – including meeting President Trump, and also attended a reception organized by the USIBC, apart from host- ing a reception too, at his house, in Washington, DC. Shringla will succeedVijay Keshav Gokhale, who completes his two-year term on January 28, 2020. Shringla will assume his new post as India’s Foreign Secretary the next day. On Saturday, Shringla called on Trump at the Oval Office in theWhite House, and thanked him for his “steadfast support” for strengthening the India-US strategic part- nership. The hugely popular Shringla, who made a big impact in India-US ties, in his brief one-year stint as Ambassador, was lauded by Trump Administration officials, for furthering ties between the two coun- tries. AliceWells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, described Shringla as the “Captain of India-US rela- tionship,” reported ANI. Wells also said that Shringla would play an important part in the India-US rela- tions to achieve its potential. US Chief of Protocol Can Henderson hosted a rare reception for Shringla at the Blair House, reported ANI. A reception at this venue for an outgoing envoy is nor- mally reserved only for a few countries and India became one of them. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev was the star attraction at a reception Shringla hosted at his residence, inWashington, DC. “This relationship between the two most resilient democracies on the planet is not just important for these two nations. How we build this relationship will deter- mine many things globally,” Sadhguru, said in his remarks, at the reception, reported PTI. “This is something, I believe, was unfor- tunately not understood till about 10-15 years ago, is now everybody beginning to see that. Building this relationship is not just wellbeing of these two nations but definitely the wellbeing of this world,” Sadhguru added. In his remarks, the spiritual guru hoped that “in the next few years this rela- tionship would mature into not just hit and run kind of events but a long-term relationship which will benefit the whole world.” The reception at the residence of the Indian ambassador was attended by emi- nent Indian Americans from across the country, top officials from the Trump administration, senior Congressional staffers, and policymakers, reported PTI. The Indian Consul Generals from its consulates in NewYork, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and San Francisco also attended the farewell. Ambassadors from several countries also attended the reception, the report said. “As I leave, I take with me the distinct feeling that we really have one of our most important relationships right here in the US. It is a relationship that will continue to be important for us in time to come,” Shringla said in his brief farewell remarks, the report noted. Earlier, last week, the US-India Business Council (USIBC) hosted a reception for Shringla, inWashington, DC. In his remarks, Shringla spoke of the long-term relationship between the two countries, reported The American Bazaar. “The US-India strategic partnership that we look to not for the next four to five years of an election cycle, but a long-term relationship in which we must see a mutu- ality of benefits between two countries that have the same values, same shared principles and the same way of looking at how we would like to see the rest of the world evolve,” he said, adding also that “we must look for ways to provide a policy framework and facilitation that could secure our relationship on the economic side that is sustainable in the long term.” Shringla added: “What we are really looking at is to engage in a long-term framework under which our two countries can provide free market access to goods from each other’s countries. As two coun- tries that have a lot of complementarities in trade, we can open up windows that are exclusively for our companies and thereby even double our trade figure of $160 bil- lion.” Shringla pointed out some of the recent developments in Indo-US ties, including the fact that there have been four meet- ings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump, in 2019, and visits toWashington by senior Indian offi- cials, last year: external affairs minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, defense minister Rajnath Singh, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Shringla kept himself busy during his time as India’s top envoy in the US, visiting 21 states within the short span of a year, reported The American Bazaar. Some six governors have either visited India or will be visiting in the near future leading busi- ness delegations. Shringla, an Indian Foreign Service offi- cer of the 1984 batch, who topped the civil services exam that year, has held several important positions in his diplomatic career spanning 35 years. He has served as India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Thailand, apart from serving in France, India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in the US, Vietnam, Israel and South Africa. Shringla has worked closely with India’s Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar I Photo courtesyof Ambassador’sTwitter India’s Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla called on President Donald Trump at the White House,, on January 11, 2020. Photo: JayMandal/On Assignment Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s Ambassador to the US, and Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru, at a farewell reception at “Embassy House”, in Washington, DC, on January 10, 2020. Also seen in the photo (on right with them) is Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, the Founder and Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media. Photo:IAICC Congressman Joe Wilson (third from right), a member of the India Caucus, hosted a farewell breakfast for Shringla (in middle), in association with the Indian American International Chamber of Commerce (IAICC) on January 9, at Capitol Hill. Continued On Page 5