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Indian American Community Welcomes Ambassador Meera Shankar

(Courtesy India This Week, June 12, 2009)

Arlington, VA. May 31, 2009:  In record setting numbers and with irrepressible jubilation, Indian Americans in the nations capital hailed the appointment of India’s new Ambassador, Her Excellency Meera Shankar—the first women envoy to the US in over 50 years. A  “sold out’ reception in her honor was held on May 31 at the Arlignton Hilton, VA. In her address, Ambassador Shankar thanked the community leaders for playing a significant role in strengthening Indo- US relationships. She assured them that the newly elected Congress UPA government is positioned for 5% to 7 % economic growth and that development will continue at a healthy pace in spite of the global economic down turn. “India’s highest priority was to strengthen policy and development relations with the United States and build on the emerging strategic partnerships between the world’s oldest and largest democracies,” she said.  

Maryland Higher Education Secretary Dr. James E. Lyons, Dr. Kamala Edwards and Ambassador Meera Shankar

sooner than the new Chief of Mission of the Embassy of India, Washington DC, presented her credentials at the White House, community activists. Leaders and representatives from over a dozen Indian American community associations in the Greater Washington area, began planning the festivities to coincide with Asian American heritage. The event Co-chairs, Dr. Kamala Edwards, President Indian American Leadership Council (IALC) and Mr. Sunil Singh, President, NCAIA who where unanimously chosen by the organizing committee, worked tirelessly to unify the diverse and burgeoning Indian community and make it representative of the Indian American community. The event brought together 300 representatives of all the major Indian American associations of the Greater Washington area to enthusiastically greet Ambassador Shankar with dances, speeches, and a warm and affectionate welcome.

Public officials and representatives from MD, DC and VA. Governments joined in celebrations. Governor Martin O’Malley was represented by the Hon. Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr., Secretary of Higher Education and Senator Ben Cardin by his Policy Director, Ms. Patrica Ross. Congressman Van Hollen, Assistant to speaker Pelosi and Congressman Steny Hoyer also sent representative. Other dignitaries included Montgomery County Council member Valeri Ervin, Mr. Steven Rossetti, Jr., former US Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Defense, Dr. Natwar Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer, D.C.

Mr. Kusuma Philip, Ambassador Shankar, Dr. Usha Kumar, Commissioner Sailesh Patel and Mr. Vishnu Patel

A number of Indian American leaders spoke briefly about their organizations and assured Meera Shankar of their full support to take Indo- US relations to the next level. The following associations were participated and were among the sponsors: AAHOA, AAA, AAPI, AIA, AIM, CAIA, Chetana. FAPAC; FIA-NCR, FOKANA, FOMAA, GOA; GOPIO. GRACE, Gujarati Samaj; IACA; IAFPE ( MD & VA) IALC, ICCC; KNS, NFIA; NCAIA; RANA; SDA-India, Tamil Sangam; US Asian and Uttranchal Association of North America.

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