The Indian and American people, belonging to two vibrant democracies, are the "lifeblood" of the Indo-US strategic partnership, said India's Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao while addressing over 300 members of the Indian American community and its leaders, senior US State Department officials, state and local bureaucrats and lawmakers.
Rao was the guest of honour at a gala banquet on August 26, organised by the Indian-American community of the Greater Washington Metropolitan region under the aegis of the National Council of Asian Indian Association to celebrate India's 64 years of independence. "This event is special and unique because it brings under one roof so many Indian-American associations in this country."
"And to be able to do this on the occasion of our independence speaks volumes and tells us about the strength and the dynamism and the diversity that India is associated with -- the plurality," she added.
Rao, asserted, "I don't mean these as empty words. Every letter in the word India does incorporate this element of diversity and this element of being united despite the diversity. In fact, we draw strength from the diversity and that's what gives our unity and our coming together on occasions like this, such special significance."
Rao said the Indo-US relationship, was "a multi-faceted partnership -- it's a strategic partnership in the true sense of the word -- and it's a partnership between the people of both countries -- the people of both our democracies."
"And it's democracy that provides the life-blood to the relationship because our people bond with each other because democracy brings us together, strengthens the oneness in our outlook, when it comes to bringing better lives to our people, building a better and brighter future for both our countries."
Rao said she had "been privileged to be a part of this process over the last three years, particularly since I was foreign secretary of the government of India, and I've seen this partnership grow -- evolve -- and today it touches almost every field of human endeavour."
Rao said that particularly for a country like India, "with its enormous changes over the last few years, the accelerating growth, the fact that millions have been lifted out of poverty, when you think of the development of India, you have to think of the future for India's youth, because essentially India is a young country. The majority of the demographic of India is below the age of 25 and therefore education for these young people is so crucial."
"How do we make them global citizens, how do we enable them to utilise the opportunity of the 21st century -- whether it's in technology, whether it's in ideas, or whether it's in just broadening intellectual horizons, and whether most importantly, is it adequate to prepare them for the market of jobs, of employment, and therefore, capacity building," she said.
Rao said that this is where the experience and expertise and the success of the Indian-American community comes in as much as the cementing of the Indo-US strategic partnership.
"Our relationship with the United States, again, becomes a key relationship in terms of the experience you have been able to build in this country, and all of you -- the Indians-Americans -- who make us so proud by virtue of your achievements, can do a great deal to contribute to this enterprise -- to this great growth story of India," she concluded.