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Thomas Wajda pitches for strong Indo-US relations

Thomas Wajda pitches for strong Indo-US relations
March 01
05:11 2018

A group of community leaders attending the meet

CHICAGO: An initiative by a prominent community activist Dr Bharat Barai that evoked a good backing from many other Indian community members and the U.S. India Friendship resulted in having a meet and greet event last week with a former with U.S. Consul General in Mumbai, Thomas Wajda, at Gaylord India Restaurant in Schaumburg. Wajda is now an Assistant Secretary at the US State Department.

This meet was in a hugely informal atmosphere which was greatly appreciated by Chief Guest Thomas Wajda who was accompanied by Travis Coberly, Economic Officer, Indian Affairs, and Indian Consul General in Chicago Neeta Bhushan who graciously agreed to participate in the event. Besides her, there were a good number of Indian community members and representatives of ethnic media.
The theme of the event was bridging of India and US relations and many local Indian community leaders including J.Diganvker, Republican candidate running for Congress from the 8th Congressional district, met each other and Wajda. “I’m really optimistic of the future of Indo-US relationship and committed to work together so that we can be a force in this world,” Thomas Wajda asserted while addressing the gathering.
“I welcome Mr. Wajda,” Bhushan, dressed in a dapper maroon and beige sari, said. “President Trump believes in freedom, democracy, and diversity and I believe Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi can build a special relationship with President Trump,” she said.

 

Ladies group attending the event (left to right) Cynthia Chokalingam, Panna Barai, Hina Trivedi, Kantaben Patel, Mita Jani, Mrs Bedi

Ms. Bhushan stated that Indo-US defense spending has gone up by $15 billion dollars and includes an order of at least 100 aircraft in accordance with Modi’s policy to refurbish the aging air force industry. “Infosys is setting a second base in America and will hire American workers. Mahindra & Mahindra and Wipro are also gaining strides in America,” she said. Mahindra and Mahindra opened a new plant in Detroit and Wipro hired 3,000 workers in America last year. It plans to add centers in Tampa and Dallas.

 

Joking that probably he had the same speechwriter as Bhushan, Wajda thanked the Indian community for its contributions to America. “Thank you for serving United States. For three years I lived in Mumbai and met film actor Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan at some events. “I was waiting to be discovered and wanting a big break in Bollywood – which did not happen,” Wajda quipped.
Wajda mentioned Nikki Haley, the first female governor of South Carolina. “There are lots of Indian Americans in Congress. A lot of you have embraced our country. We want to see our trade go up with India,” he said referring to an audience question about China copying products and anti-dumping rules.

Host Dr Bharat Barai seen with Thomas Wajda, CG Ms Bhushan and Dr Panna Barai

Indian community leader and the main host Dr Bharat Barai said that he met Wajda at State Department and invited him to visit Chicago. “He was willing to come over and meet Indian American community in Chicago and this shows that he is a people’s person,” Barai added.
Barai also mentioned about Modi’s visit to Israel on July 5, 2017. A think-tank symposium was organized in Tel Aviv by Indian Diaspora in partnership with American Jewish Community, FICCI, Indian Jewish Leadership Institute, Global Indian Jewish Relation Institute and Begin–Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at King David Hotel in Jerusalem. PM Modi met all leaders there.

Himani Kumar Sanagaram

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