Chairman of House Foreign Relations Committee was the Chief Guest at the celebration of India’s 72nd Republic Day, organized by GOPIO New York
“My participation in the celebration of India’s Republic Day today is a testament to the value I place on the friendship United States has with India,” including continued collaboration in all the possible sectors, while stating that the US -India strategic partnership, based on mutual values and commitment will continue under the new Biden – Harris administration. Rep. Gregory Meeks said on Sunday, Jan. 24th.
Referring to the COVID pandemic, Rep. Gregory Meeks said, “We stand together, shoulder to shoulder” in combating the virus and the impact it has on humanity.
Ranking Democrat Congressman Gregory Meeks, Chairman of House Foreign Relations Committee was the Chief Guest at the celebration of India’s 72nd Republic Day, organized by GOPIO New York. The virtual celebrations began with the virtual flag hoisting and with the singing of the Indian and American national anthems by Manik Malhotra and Mathy Pillai.
Beena Kothari, GOPIO-NY President Beena Kothari welcomed the participants from across the globe to the celebration. While serving as the emcee for the event, she said, “We are gathered here to celebrate the 72nd India’s Republic Day.”
Rep. Meeks of New York was introduced by Lal Motwani, Honorary Chairman of GOPIO-NY. Mr. Motwani shared with the audience about the close relationship Rep. Meeks has with GOPIO and the larger Indian American community. “He is a true friend of the Indian American community,” Mr. Motwani said. Rep. Meeks in his address, said he has known Mr. Motwani for over two decades. While recognizing the contributions of Mr. Lal Motvani and the leaders of the Indian American community, he thanked GOPIO leaders for inviting him to the celebrations of India’s Republic Day.
Emphasizing the need to work together, Rep. Meeks said, diversity has given us the strength to support each other. He lauded the sacrifices of the front-line workers and the healthcare professionals in helping the community and the nation affected by the deadly COVID19 virus. Rep. Meeks was “appreciative of the partnership of the leadership of the largest democracies in the world.” He praised the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and the power of nonviolence. Praising the contributions of Indian Americans, Rep. Meeks said, “I want to say to all today: You have made USA a better and peaceful place.”
Rep. Meeks pointed to the Bill passed with bipartisan support by the US House of Representatives, that would establish an exchange initiative between the USA and India to study the work and legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. “Written by civil rights icon John Lewis, who died early this year, the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act authorizes the State Department, in cooperation with the Indian government, to establish an annual educational forum for scholars from both countries that focuses on the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.” This legislation honors the long-standing relationship between the USA and people of India and advance his teachings and establish a development foundation that would allow India and the US to work together to address pressing issues like climate change, education and public health,” Rep. Meeks, who as the Chair of the powerful Congressional Foreign Relation Committee expects such cooperation between Indi and the US.
On his inaugural address, Indian Consul General, H.E. Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, a career diplomat with over two decades of diplomatic career serving in Portugal, Cuba, South Africa and at the Permanent Mission of India in New York, greeted the Diaspora in the United States as well as those around the world connected online to the event on the occasion of India’s 72nd Republic Day celebration. Calling it an important occasion and a milestone for India and the people of Indian origin, he said, “This is a time when we reflect on the past and the present and ways to go forward.” Describing the current period as “difficult times,” he referred to the health and the economic challenges India and the world is facing today. He expressed hope that the arrival of the vaccination will help make a new beginning.
Promising that India is on way to provide vaccination to 300 million people in India, Ambassador spoke about India’s plans “to share the fruits of science” with in our regional countries and across the globe by supplying vaccines to the needy, thus living India’s philosophy of “The whole world is one family.”
NY State Senator Kevin Thomas was introduced by Dr. Thomas Abraham, as a friend and part of the Indian American community. Dr. Abraham conveyed Republic Day greetings from all GOPIO International officers including President Sunny Kulathakal from Bahrain, Executive VP Ishwar Ram Lutchman from South Africa, Vice President Ram Gandhi from the USA and all other International Coordinators from all over the world present at the Zoom celebrations.
In his address, Senator Thomas, who is chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee, conveyed his greetings to the Indian Diaspora and read out the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, reminding all of the high ideals of unity and diversity, urging the nation to live up to the high ideals enshrined in the constitution of India.
NY State Representative Jenifer Rajkumar from the 28th District thanked GOPIO and the Indian American community for the inspiration she has had in her life, “I stand on your shoulders as GOPIO has played a great role in helping me get elected to the State Assembly” .Referring the “Samosa Coccus” formed in the State of New York with a record three Indian Americans elected to the state, she said, “We made history this year and I want to thank the community leaders who have made this possible.”
Rajkumar shared with the audience as to how growing up in a family that emphasized the teachings of Gandhian principles has helped her to appreciate diversity, justice and equality for all. During this difficult COVID times, “My office is doing everything possible to make distribution of vaccine equitably to all.”