Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s new Ambassador to the United States, has presented his credentials to President Donald Trump at a special ceremony held in the White House on Thursday, February 7th, 2020. The envoy was accompanied by his wife and peer Reenat Sandhu, currently serving as the Indian Ambassador to Italy.
According to a statement released by the Indian Embassy in Washington, Trump warmly welcomed Sandhu back to Washington and wished him success in his new role as New Delhi’s top diplomat in America. President Trump also fondly recalled his friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and their several interactions.
Ambassador Sandhu said in a statement that the vision and guidance provided by Prime Minister Modi and President Trump in the last three years have moved India and the United States towards greater strategic convergence.
Ambassador Sandhu affirmed his commitment to work towards strengthening strategic partnership between India and the United States, which is anchored in mutual trust and friendship, democratic values and people-to-people ties.
At the State Department, Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, welcomed Sandhu back to Washington and said in a tweet that the new envoy was a “strong champion of US-India ties”.
Addressing a 200-plus strong gathering of senior US administration officials, lawmakers, business leaders, educators, Indian-American community activists including a good number of Sikhs, press and media persons, at his official residence in Washington, Thursday evening, Sandhu said: “It is like coming back home.”
With more than 2,000 US companies present in India and over 200 Indian companies in the United States, India-US bilateral trade last year hit $160 billion, said Taranjit Singh Sandhu, newly-appointed Indian Ambassador to the United States.
Speaking at a reception hosted by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), Ambassador Sandhu said that than 2,000 US companies have a presence in India today. “Over 200 Indian Companies have invested US$18 billion in the US, creating more than 100,000 direct jobs,” Ambassador Sandhu said in his remarks. “Two-way investment, between India and US reached, US $60 billion in 2018. Bilateral trade is growing at 10 percent, on a year-to-year basis, and reached $160 billion in 2019.”
He said bilateral numbers made him bullish about Indo-US relationship. “The best is yet to come. When US capital and expertise meets the Indian market and Indian mind, we should aim for nothing less, but the sky,” Ambassador Sandhu said. “I look forward to working with, USISPF and each one of you, in this endeavor of taking our relationship to new heights.”
Here are other highlights from his speech:
India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world. India is a land of 800 million young people. By 2020, the median age in India is just 28, compared to 37 in China and the US, 45 in Western Europe and 49 in Japan. The youth have the ability to think big, think out of the box, innovate, and bring, transformational changes. They are forward looking, and are hungry, for development. They are full of hope, and optimism.
The youth are the drivers of, the new start-up, ecosystem in India. India is the third largest, start-up base in the world. India added 13,00 tech startups last year.
India is home today to around 27 unicorns, i.e. startup companies, valued at over $1 billion. Companies like Zomato, Swiggy, Big Basket, are home-grown, and have revolutionized lives in India.
India is also home to more than 2 million social enterprises, companies which cater to diverse social causes. In the last eight years, over 1.2 billion Indians have received their biometric IDs — Aadhaar, as it called.
Aadhaar is also the largest and most successful IT project ever undertaken in the world, with 1.1 billion people (92% of the population) having a digital proof of identity. In 2016, India overtook the US in terms of internet users. India’s internet user base is now the second largest in the world. There are about 1 billion, mobile users today.
In mobile data consumption today, India is in the first position, ahead of US and China put together. India is the fourth largest automobile market in the world, and the 7th largest for manufacturer of commercial vehicles.
Indian educational institutes have produced the minds, that now lead the global corporations, like Google, Microsoft, MasterCard, Nokia, IBM. India is fast becoming an Artificial Intelligence Hub in the world, with reports suggesting, that 60% of India’s GDP by 2021 will come from AI.
India is the also, largest cinema producer in the world. More Bollywood films are watched by people than from any other industry. There are more Bollywood and Hollywood collaborations now.
Prime Minister Naredra Modi has set the goal for India to grow from a $3 trillion economy today to a $5 trillion economy by 2024 and a $10 trillion economy by 2030. In this journey, Prime Minister Modi has made it clear that the US is a preferred partner for trade and business.
The potential for co-operation between United States and India is limitless. The relations between two governments has found a new momentum, getting its energy from the warm friendship between President Trump our Prime Minister Modi.
Sandhu, who has replaced Harsh Vardhan Shringla, had previously served as the deputy chief in the Indian embassy in Washington.