Minister of State (1/C), Housing & Urban Affairs Minister of State (1/C), Civil Aviation, Minister of State, Commerce & Industry – Hardeep S. Puri
I extend my warm greetings to fellow Indians, the Indian-American community and to the readers of The Indian Panorama on the occasion of India‘s 74th Independence Day. I am happy to connect with you through the medium of this special issue being published to commemorate this historical day.
On 15 August 2019, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji laid out a vision for India as a $5 Trillion economy by 2024-25 anchored in inclusive, sustainable and self-reliant development. In the past six years, we have made significant progress in areas such as financial inclusion, rapid housing and infrastructure development, drastic improvement in Ease of Doing Business and rolled out one of the world’s largest health care initiatives – Ayushman Bharat.
In the last few months, Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented health and economic challenges before the governments worldwide. On 12 May 2020, Hon’ble Prime Minister launched the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan which aims to promote the domestic manufacturing industry and integrate us further with the global supply chains. Indian professionals have a critical role in making this ambitious initiative successful as you are one of our biggest strengths.
Indian professionals across the globe are also at the forefront of this battle against Covid-19. In these times of distress, where in some of you were stranded, we carried out the Vande Bharat Mission which has transported more than one million Indians till now. We will continue to take further necessary steps to assist all of you in these troubled times.
Prime Minister Modi Ji’s government is committed towards the economic resurgence of our nation while supporting our most vulnerable citizens ‘ tide over these difficult times. I urge everyone to keep practicing social distancing norms for the safety of your family and community. I wish you all a happy Independence Day.
Ambassador Of India – Taranjit Singh Sandhu
I extend my warm greetings to fellow Indians and Indian-Americans on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day of India. I am delighted that Indian Panorama is bringing out a special issue on this occasion.
- In the last 73 years, leaving the challenges of poverty and illiteracy in the dust, India is now leading the world in science, technology, commerce and innovation. At a time when the entire world is reeling under the pandemic, India is a beacon of hope forthe global revival in the post COVID world.
- India’s relationship with the United States has seen tremendous progress in the last few years under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Both the countries are united in the fight against the pandemic. Going ahead, the cooperation between India and the United States will be crucial for a better, more stable, and peaceful
- The Indian-American community has been a strong pillar in our bilateral relationship with the United I take this opportunity to greet all of them on Independence Day and for their relentless work in strengthening the partnership between India and the US.
CONSUL GENERAL OF INDIA NEW YORK – Randhir Jaiswal
On the occasion of 74th Independence Day of India, I convey my warmest greetings and felicitations to all readers of The Indian Panorama. This weekly has served as a living bridge between India and the Indian Diaspora in the United States for long. As in past, it is yet again bringing out a special edition to commemorate India’s Independence Day 2020. We are thankful to it for getting us ever closer !
These are difficult time for all of us. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit us hard. I take this opportunity to pay my respects to and remember all our dear friends and well wishers whom we lost to the pandemic and those who were able to fight it through. And we remain grateful to the health workers and other professionals in the US, in India and around the world, for their selfless service and sacrifice, who have been there for us. As Covid warriors,you deserve our highest respect and praise.
India and U.S. have a deep and meaningful partnership. Our close bonds of engagement are rooted in history. India’s freedom struggle drew inspiration from American values and thought. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation, delved into the works of Henry David Thoreau, the great American thinker, as he grappled to give shape to his political thought and action. Ever since, as two democracies, we have continued to champion freedom, justice and peace, and these timeless values continue to guide us as we take our partnership into the 21 st century. We are together thinking long-term and as much to solve the most immediate, most pressing challenge -a solution for the pandemic- for ourselves and for the humanity at large.
I look forward to doing my best for India-US relations and to serve our community to the best of our ability. It would be my endeavor to maintain and enhance the people-oriented nature of our Consulate. May our freedom struggle ever inspire us.
I once again extend my heartiest greetings to all readers of The Indian Panorama.
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF INDIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK – T. S. Trimurti
On the occasion of the 74t h Independence Day of India, I extend my hearty felicitations to The Indian Panorama for bringing out an illustrated special issue to mark this momentous occasion. I also take this opportunity to convey my greetings and best wishes to all the Indian nationals living in the United States as well as to the vibrant Indian-American community.
India continues to be a beacon of hope for all those who believe in strong family values, preservation of heritage and culture, continued nourishment of democracy and democratic principles, adherence to pluralism and tolerance as well as in a strong voice for international cooperation and development partnership to promote peace andprosperity.
75 years on, India remains committed to the purposes and principles of the United Nations and is proud to have made a significant contribution in shaping the agenda of the United Nations in a range of important areas including decolonization, apartheid, human rights, disarmament, environment, terrorism, development and other critical issues.
I extend my congratulations to Chief Editor Prof. lndrajit S. Saluja and his team for their commitment to promote greater understanding and friendship between India and the United States.
CONSUL GENERAL OF INDIA HOUSTON – Aseem R. Mahajan
I am happy to know that the Indian Panorama is publishing a special illustrated issue on India’s 74th Independence Day on 15 August 2020.
Independence Day is a special day for all Indians. It is a day on which we commemorate our long and hard freedom struggle and remember the sacrifices of those who led India to become a free nation. It is an occasion for us to take stock of the progress we have made as a nation, the challenges that we face and to reaffirm our resolve to overcome them collectively.
The Consulate is striving to deepen the close multi-faceted ties between India and United States. We look forward to the continued support of the Indian Panorama to strengthen our outreach and promote events which we plan to organize with the community and various other stakeholders.
I extend my warm greetings to the readers of the Indian Panorama on India’s Independence Day and wish them continued success.
Ambassador Asoke Mukerji – Former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations
On 15 August 1947, India began her “tryst with destiny” as an independent nation. This year on Independence Day, India is at another major crossroads in her evolution as a modern nation state. The importance of a supportive international environment for the transformation of India is greater today than ever before.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the process of change underway in international relations. This global challenge has elicited a strong response. Over 150 countries across the world including some highly developed economies and many developing countries have benefited from partnering with India in responding to this challenge. This is the best example of the meaning of true international cooperation which drives the aspirations of most countries in the world.
However, the principle of international cooperation has been steadily undermined during recent years. This has serious implications for India. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted adversely on the economies of all countries, including India. The contraction of international trade, conducted on agreed principles of non-discrimination, is a major area of concern. India’s foreign trade contributes almost 40% of her GDP. India’s aspirations to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024 require international cooperation to be sustained, not fractured.
Together with the adverse impact of the pandemic, creeping protectionist sentiments have grown in major markets. The raising of protectionist barriers has begun to restrict the opportunities for emerging markets such as India. Decisions on curtailing the movement of skilled Indian workers abroad, including to the United States, will have long-term consequences.
A related development is a trend towards using technologies that accelerate and sustain development as political levers. Since integrating her national development objectives with the global Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development in September 2015, India has moved rapidly to establish platforms that rely on such technologies for inclusive development so that no one is left behind. The JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhar-Mobile) trinity has driven this policy in the financial services sector. This has already yielded significant results by combining the opening of about 400 million new bank accounts, including for 220 million women, with a unique identity number and a mobile connection. The result has benefited over 700 million persons through direct benefit transfers of $150 billion, while ensuring 813 million citizens have received the benefit of food security programs.
Protectionism and a possible “balkanization” of communications technologies represent two global challenges confronting India’s re-emergence one of the world’s leading economies today. The slide towards more strident political confrontation, especially between the United States and China, represents a third critical challenge for India’s aspirations.
India is well placed to play a pro-active role to counter these challenges. From 1 January 2021, she will take her seat as an elected member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term. In 2022, India will chair the G-20, the premier platform for global economic cooperation. India’s emphasis on a “more nationalistic approach to international relations” will need to be calibrated to reform international relations to meet her national objectives. This means a fresh effort to overcome the difficulties facing international structures that are responsible for ensuring effective international cooperation.
India’s priorities in this regard must focus on making existing multilateral institutions “fit for purpose”. These include revitalizing the World Trade Organization, implementing the agreed reforms in decision-making in the International Monetary Fund, and fulfilling the unanimous mandate given by world leaders fifteen years ago for “early reform” of the UN Security Council to make it more equitable and representative.
All these are today insurmountably more difficult tasks for India than they were a decade ago. Yet, these challenges provide the new emerging India with an opportunity to provide substance to the vision in the Preamble of Agenda 2030 that there “can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.”
On India’s Independence Day 2020, my warmest greetings to the readers of The Indian Panorama! Jai Hind!
Kevin M. Thomas – Senator, 6th District
It is with great pleasure that I offer my warmest greetings and congratulations to The Indian Panorama and the Indian-American Community as we celebrate 74 years of Indian Independence. As the first Indian-American to be elected to serve in the New York State Senate, I am honored to be a part of this special publication to commemorate this momentous occasion.
The Indian Panorama has distinguished itself by capturing the diverse voices and perspectives of the South Asian community and its growing place in the complex mosaic of contemporary American life. Thispublication’s fine work in showcasing the positive impact of the Indian community in New York, as well as itsefforts to promote and uphold the interests of the South Asian diaspora, is worthy of our deepest appreciation, gratitude, and respect.
In addition to marking this important day in India’s history, Independence Day is an opportunity for the Indian-American diaspora to celebrate our vibrant culture, heritage, and aspirations. It is also an occasion to reflect on the vast and deep contributions that Indian immigrants and Indian Americans have made throughout Americanhistory.
Once again, I am honored to join The Indian Panorama to commemorate the 74th anniversary of India’s Independence, and I give my heartfelt congratulations to each of you as we celebrate. Jai Hind!
Tom Suozzi ,US Congressman ,D-NY 3rd District
Today, we celebrate the 74th anniversary of Indian Independence Day. Throughout my career in public service, I have worked to elevate the US-India partnership and believe it to be one of our most important relationships for the next 50 years.
Our relationship is driven, in part, by our vibrant Indian American community, one of the most industrious and successful diaspora populations in the world. Today, we also celebrate their contributions to our communities here on Long Island and in Queens.
I wish all my friends in the Indian community happy, healthy, and safe celebrations. Jai Hind!
VK Raju, MD,FRCS,FACS ,Ophthalmologist, Regional Eye Associates , President and Founder, Eye Foundation of America, President and Founder, Goutami Eye Institute, Clinical Professor, West Virginia University, Director, International Ocular Surface Society, Adjunct Professor, GSL Medical School
Ralph Waldo Emerson, having read the UPANISHADS and VEDAS, said he could not put them away. “They haunt me. In them I found eternal compensation, unfathomable power, unbroken peace.” That is our heritage and you often hear in Indian media that we are loud and proud about this. I agree. I often visit India, which gave me a nearly free, stellar medical education, to pursue a career in ophthalmology and dedicate my work to the prevention and treatment of eye problems in children. (www.EyefoundationofAmerica.org)
Since the 90s, India has made tremendous economic progress; however, some say that India is in a moral crisis. This crisis is largely political. In the 50s, many eminent men in public life were every inch gentlemen while the 60s brought us many public figures who were every alternate inch a gentleman. The 70s showed an unacceptable number of politicians who were no inch a gentleman. Nani Palkhivala, the great statesman and Indian ambassador to the U.S., wrote in “We, the People”(1984) that the tricolor flag fluttering all over the country is black (money), red (tape) and scarlet (corruption). May I add nepotism?
In 1947, when the British were leaving, India had more than 560 princely states. Rulers surrendered their sovereignty in exchange for privy purses and other benefits. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (“the only man in the Indian cabinet” as critics called her) argued for the abolition of privy purses based on equal rights for all citizens and the need to reduce the government’s budget deficit. India has tried to rid itself of dynasties since the 1980s; however, politics have become more and more dynastic. According to a recent publication from the election commission of India, the total number of registered parties was 2,598, including 8 national 52 state and 2,538 unrecognized parties. Quoting Palkhivala again, “One Indian is highly intelligent, two Indians are one political party, and three Indians are two political parties.”
Does this reflect our Vedic wisdom and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam?
I wish publisher and readers of The Indian Panorama a happy Independence Day of India.
Ravi Batra P.C.
Ranju joins me in wishing India, Indian-Americans, friends of a secular and democratic India and readers of The Indian Panorama: Happy Independence day India!
What has set America and Americans apart and on a pedestal – President Ronald Reagan called us “that Shining City on the Hill” – is not that humanity is anymore “perfect” on our soil than on another nation’s, but our founding documents – created by our exceptional Founders all, be they Thomas Jefferson or James Madison or Ben Franklin to name a few – knew of humanity’s follies, and madestructural change then-unknown in human history: they separated “power,” and destroyed “control” by any one. Thus, our Declaration of Independence was born July 4, 1776, and American Exceptionalism was cemented in our cherished Constitution. As Ben Franklin answered gingerly in 1787: “[w]e are aRepublic Madam, if you can keep it.” And, we have!
And, I am happy to note that India – after borrowing from our Declaration and Constitution – also has! America is the oldest democracy and a nation oflaws, and India is the largest democracy, and also a nation oflaws – be it Art.370, CAA or NRC. That every Indian in secular India – at a DNA-level – believes in the rule of law, freedom of religion, human rights is the core bond between our nations. Just as Law & Order is demanded now, thanks to criminal-looters on our American streets, it is even more indemand in India as she is buffeted by cross-border Terror.
Indian in India paid the bill for the American Revolution: Indian Tea starred in the birthing of the American Revolution in 1773 Boston Harbor; and painfully, when Lord Cornwallis lost to General George Washington, King George sent him to India as Viceroy – where upon arrival he ordered the killing of 5,000 Indian men, women and children – General Reginald Dyer’s infamous massacre at Jallianwalla Bagh cemented the thirst for Freedom in India.
Enjoy the Freedoms – defend the Freedoms – as Free martyrs