US hails Indian diaspora’s role in strengthening ties

October 11th, 2011 - 11:37 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Oct 11 (IANS) With a growing Indian American community which has increasing influence, the US sees the Indian diaspora as an important partner for forging closer ties with India, according to a senior US official.

The long-standing work of Indian community groups in organising the community and having a dialogue with policy leaders embodies the importance of proactive civic engagement, said Mitul Desai, senior advisor for outreach in the South Asia bureau of the State Department at a meeting with them here Monday.

“The US-India relationship will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century but we know governments alone cannot realise the full promise of this potential and that is why we need the Indian-American community’s ideas, energy and commitment,” said Desai, a second generation Indian American.

“On a range of issues, from our Passport to India internship project to exciting new initiatives aimed at enhancing philanthropy in India and further accelerating US-India state-state and city-city linkages, the diaspora has a crucial role to play,” he added.

Desai’s job at the bureau is to build a dialogue and partnerships with private sector, NGOs and diaspora organisations.

Desai comes to government from the corporate arena, where he worked as an investment bank analyst, consultant and intellectual property attorney.

Thomas Abraham, founder president and chairman emeritus of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), said the Obama administration’s initiative to reach out and motivate the diaspora group is a welcome move in the right direction to further solidify US-India relations.

However, he was critical of both governments on problems related to getting visas for travel between US and India as it hampered US-India people to people partnerships.

The meeting was organised by the major national Indian community organisations, including GOPIO, National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA), American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and Society of Indo American Engineers and Architects (SIAEA).

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