Washington, DC – Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla came, saw and conquered here to return to Delhi another winning streak as the newly appointed Foreign Secretary of India.
With so much praise for his unflinching efforts to cement US-India ties and having won the hearts of Indian diaspora, respect of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and trust of government officials in the Trump administration, there were receptions and events galore for farewell to Ambassador Shringla.
One of the high-level send-off events was in the House Foreign Affairs Committee room in Rayburn House building on Capitol Hill where lawmakers commended Shringla’s diplomatic skills and charming personality.
Highlighting the importance of US-India bilateral equation, Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, “I regard the relationship between the US and India as one of the most important relationships the US has. As chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I will continue to do everything in my power to strengthen the relationship between India and the US.”
Among other prominent speakers at the event were Brad Sherman, Pete King, Jim Vargas and Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Hosting the farewell reception were New York based Ravi Batra, Chair, National Advisory Council South Asian Affairs and Ranju Batra, Chair, US Diwali Foundation, who spearheaded for seven years to finally get Diwali Stamp both from the United Nations and the United States Postal Services (USPS).
Thanking Congressman Engel for allowing the use of his committee room for an outgoing ambassador, Ravi Batra stressed the symbolic nature of the strength and vitality of the bilateral relationship.
“Ambassador Shringla soon after arrival had to become India’s Sir Thomas More, a ”Man for all Seasons,” and dealt with many issues – from pride to stress to argument – crammed into one short year with goodness, grace and honesty, rather than traditional non-committal diplomacy,” Ravi Batra, the Host said.
Shringla has dealt with an issue of pride, ”Howdy Modi!,” to issues of stress, students in a fake university, S-400 and trade tariffs, to issues of argument, as with Kashmir, CAA and NRC,” noted Batra.
Touching on the ongoing scenario in Kashmir, Ravi Batra told the audience, “I’m happy to note that Today in India a 15-nation (US, S Korea, Vietnam, Fiji, Bangladesh, Maldives, Norway, Togo, Peru, Morocco, Argentina, Niger, Nigeria, Guyana, Philippines) ambassadorial delegation, including our own ambassador Ken Juster, is on an overnight stay-visit to Kashmir, which means law & order is being restored and normalcy is close behind.”
Commenting on the successful stay of Shringla in the US, Batra added, “India”s outreach in the US has been more productive, because his teammates have followed his style of – what I call ”honest diplomacy,” and which he calls ”preventative diplomacy’’.”
On his part Ambassador Shringla thanked all the lawmakers noting, there was “very significant engagement with Congress,” adding, “We’ve been given every encouragement by our friend in Congress, particularly by Chairman Engel.”
The next Foreign Secretary of India, Shringla expressed confidence about continuing engagements with the US Congress as the elected representatives of the people in the US.
India’s Consul General in New York, Sandeep Chakravorty also graced the occasion, coming from New York.
Another event organized by the US State Department was held earlier in the evening at the iconic Blair House from across the White House. Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells highlighted the role played by the outgoing Indian Ambassador Shringla in nursing the US-India relationship and called him “the captain” of the US-India relation-ship as he proceeds to take over the reins as Foreign Secretary in Delhi.
There were a few events which were organized by the Indian Embassy. Here are the glimpses in photos:
Business organizations like US-India Business Council (USIBC) and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) also hosted farewell events for Ambassador Shringla, who himself hosted a few receptions to interact with officials, journalists and Indian diaspora.