The Indian American community in the New York region organized a farewell dinner in honor of India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, who returns to India soon to take over another important assignment as spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs. Held at the Moghul restaurant’s banquet hall in Edison, NJ on November 20, 202 hundreds of Indian Americans and leaders representing several community organizations attended the event, sharing of their fond memories of their close association with the Consul General of India.
Nearly 400 people attended the Federation of Indian Association’s farewell for one of the most memorable diplomats in recent history from India, one who had weathered the storm of COVID, brought the diaspora of Indian Americans closer to the Consulate, and who oversaw the delivery of consular services to the doors of many communities in the 10 states of the United States which were under his jurisdiction – for a period of 3 years.
In addition to Consul General Jaiswal and his wife Abha, the leadership and executive committee of FIA-NYNJCT, there were several high-profile guests who came to bid a fond farewell, among them Dr. Sudhir Parikh, advisor to FIA and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph, Mayor of Edison Sam Joshi, Mayor of West Windsor Hemant Marathe, and H.R. Shah of TV Asia, to name a few. Edison, NJ, which boasts possibly the highest number of people of Indian origin, presented a proclamation in the name of CG Jaiswal, to him, at the event.
In all the speeches delivered at the event, the departing Consul General was recognized for his easy accessibility to those in his jurisdiction. Whether it was opening the Consulate to numerous community events, or going to many other events where he was honored and where he was making the presence of India felt in the diaspora.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh said CG Jaiswal was the “exceptional” person for exceptional times, when Covid hit, and India celebrated its 75th independence year. As soon as he landed, “he right away recognized the plight of the Indian students. … he did such an excellent handling of the situation,” Dr. Parikh recalled. He also helped many Indian organizations channel their assistance to India including the FIA, to help victims there; He took the Consulate to the community, holding consular camps all over the 10-state jurisdiction. “Jaiswalji has broken the record with events every other day. I have seen the last 23 Consuls General work here, and I can tell,” Dr. Parikh said.
Describing him as a “people person” – “calm, cool, always smiling,” Dr. Parikh said, whose quality of making one feel he or she is the center of his attention – “I really appreciate that quality.”
Edison Mayor Sam Joshi speaking at the farewell function for Indian Consl General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, hosted by FIA Nov. 20, at Edison, NJ. PHOTO ITV Gold
Edison’s Mayor Joshi said he had come to see CG Jaiswal not only as a diplomat but as a friend. He recounted an instance of when a building burnt down in Edison and most of those affected were Indian origin. He called CG Jaiswal about their passports etc., and they got the help needed.
“On behalf of all of Edison, thank you so much,” the Mayor said, and he read out from a special proclamation issued for the time and effort the Indian diplomat had given to help Edison citizens, and for his “superior leadership.”
Consul General Jaiswal in his speech, praised the Indian community for helping and supporting him and his team to carry out their duties. “In this 3 years, we have received excellent support in meeting our responsibilities,” he said, describing it as a “very healthy relationship” between the Consulate and the people it served. He added that he is most impressed by the achievements of the Indian American community and the second generation.
After Covid hit, “Since May of 2020, the Indian Consulate has been open every day of the week,” CG Jaiswal told the audience, something not seen in any other consulate around the world. He recounted some highlights during his tenure – such a the raising of the Indian flag at Times Square; people coming at 2 am at night to listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s telecast speech; and the 8,000 who came to the White House to welcome PM Modi during his state visit to Washington, which he said, speaks volumes for the community’s achievements and recognition.
Deputy Consul General Jeph spoke of how the Consular team worked diligently under CG Jaiswal’s leadership, and how community engagement was the departing diplomat’s primary objective.
Ankur Vaidya, chairman of FIA, spoke emotionally about how CG Jaiswal had served his Motherland in taking up the diplomatic path of the Indian Foreign Service. “You have championed the diaspora,” Vaidya noted, adding, that the farewell was more to recognize and salute the journey to serve their nation. He also recognized Abha Jaiswal for her steadfast support without which the hard task would not have been possible.
Vaidya recalled the millions and millions of dollars in aid sent by organizations from the US and how the CG facilitated all that. “Kudos for putting that effort … to you and your team.”
From a time when going to the Consulate was intimidating, Vaidya said, today, people want to visit the building and see for themselves. “May your career shine…” to bring India and US closer together, he added.
Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal , on July 19, assumed charge as Consul General of India in New York . He succeeded Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty who remained Consul General from April 2017 to June 2020. Ambassador Jaiswal ‘s last posting was as Joint Secretary cum Social Secretary to the President of India Ramnath Kovind . A 1998 Indian Foreign Service officer, Jaiswal headed the foreign affairs office of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and advised the President on India’s foreign policy. He had earlier served as Consul General of India in Johannesburg ,South Africa.
Jaiswal is no stranger to New York. He had earlier worked as a Counselor at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in New York. Jaiswal, an officer of the 1998 batch of the Indian Foreign Service, will succeed the current spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, who has been appointed India’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva.
During his diplomatic career of more than two decades, Jaiswal has served in Portugal, Cuba, South Africa and at India’s permanent mission to the UN in New York. Jaiswal has also served in the external affairs ministry as the deputy secretary, looking after relations with the US and as joint secretary managing ties with countries in western Europe. In mid-2017, he was deputed to serve the President as the joint secretary responsible for international relations. He was appointed in his current position of consul general in New York in July 2020.
Jaiswal has also been part of the Indian delegation at climate change conferences. He has a masters degree in history from Delhi University.