India-US relations have perhaps never been so good. The multi-dimensional & multi-layered relations between India and the US have been transformed beyond recognition in the last two decades. Sheer magnitude of interaction and exchanges, their frequency, level and nature has been unprecedented. While the signing of the Civil Nuclear Agreement was, indeed, a significant milestone, our bilateral relations can’t and must not rest on this issue alone.
Between the two functioning democracies, there will always be some issues on which they don’t see eye to eye; they rather agree to disagree. While pursuing our respective national interests, we can always find a host of issues to co-operate, collaborate and co-ordinate for our mutual benefit. The same is true about India-US relations.
Having served in USA as India’s Ambassador, I have witnessed at first hand how millions of Americans marvel at our democratic experiment since 1947, our values and Samskaras, our intellectual depth and the quality of our scholars, academics, scientists, engineers doctors and men and women of letters and ,of course, the entrepreneurial skills of our businessmen. I have also noticed how thousands of Indians who arrived in USA with nothing more than their degrees in their pockets are today millionaires; they have made their dreams come true and risen to great heights in their careers thanks to the American society and environment which offers opportunities to innovate, experiment, improvise and excel.
While the Govts, corporate sectors and other official agencies address issues and matters which fall in their domain, there is huge area in which the opinion makers in the oldest and the largest democracies can network, interface, interact, discuss, debate, brainstorm, co-operate, collaborate with each other to expand, deepen and strengthen each other’s understanding and appreciation and generate goodwill and friendship between the peoples of the two countries. This is the arena in which Indo-American Friendship Association; New Delhi can play a constructive role as a catalyst to build bridges of friendship, understanding and appreciation using public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and huge soft power resources which exist in the two countries.
I wish the IAFA all success in their endeavours.