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In photos: When 25 American Governors visited India's Ambassador

February 27, 2017 19:31 IST

Inside the governors' reception hosted by Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna -- a first in more than 15 years.
Monal Sarkar checks out the attendees.

Virginia and Nevada Governors

IMAGE: Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, right, greets Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, the chair of the National Governors Association, and NGA Vice-Chair, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, centre at his home in Washington, DC.
Photograph: Kind courtesy IndianUSA/Facebook.com

 

At least 25 American governors -- and special representatives of four more governors -- attended the governors' reception hosted by Navtej Sarna, India's ambassador to the United States, at his residence in Washington, DC, on February 24.

The event coincided with the opening night of the winter meeting of the National Governors Association in the US capital.

The attendance at the reception held for the first time in more than 15 years indicated just how far the India-US relationship had come.

The last time an Indian ambassador hosted American governors on this scale was in February 2001 when Naresh Chandra was the ambassador and Sarna an official at the embassy.

Only 18 governors -- a position that roughly corresponds to chief ministers of Indian states -- attended the 2001 reception.

The large attendance this time was viewed as an outreach to the Indian-American community, which is reeling from the Kansas shooting that saw a racist US navy veteran attack two Indian engineers, killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and injuring Alok Madasani.

'I am sure all right-thinking people in America will work together and ensure that this tragic incident is behind us,' Sarna was quoted as saying in his welcoming remarks at the reception.

Sarna leveraged the evening to not just underline India's concerns over the Kansas shooting and the uptick in hate crimes, but also to highlight the worth of the India-US strategic partnership.

And in the current climate of anxiety over the Trump administration's anticipated action on the H-1B visa, he drew special 'attention to the immense contribution of the high tech sector in promoting bilateral economic cooperation.'

According to a statement from the Indian embassy, the ambassador said, 'From 2011 to 2015, studies by reputed business houses reveal that more than 400,000 jobs have been directly and indirectly supported by Indian tech companies recording a growth of 10 per cent annually.'

'Over the last 5 years, Indian tech companies have paid over $20 billion as taxes, $7 billion towards social security contributions and impacted over 120,000 American lives through Corporate Social Responsibility contributions.'

The embassy said the governors in attendance assured the gathering that 'the NGA and its components -- the US state governments -- will continue to work closely with India to assure a safe and secure work and living environment for Indian citizens in the US as well as a productive business environment conditioned by a favourable regulatory and legal set-up.'

Snapshots from the evening...

US Governors

Among the governors in attendance were, standing from left, Arizona's Doug Ducey, Kentucky's Matt Bevin, Louisiana's John Bel Edwards, Massachusetts' Charlie Baker, Indiana's Eric Holcomb, Wyoming's Matt Mead, South Dakota's Dennis Daugaard and the US Virgin Islands' Kenneth Mapp.
Seated from left, Utah's Gary Herbert, Alaska's Bill Walker, Oklahoma's Mary Fallin, Ambassador Navtej Sarna, Virginia's Terry McAuliffe, Nevada's Brian Sandoval and South Carolina's Henry McMaster.

The NGA, founded in 1908, is called the 'collective voice' of the nation's governors; its membership includes the governors of all 55 US states, territories and commonwealths.

Photograph: Kindc courtesy IndianUSA/Facebook.com

From left, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and a guest with Ambassador Sarna and his wife Avina.

Photograph: Kind courtesy @mattkonenkamp/Twitter.com

South Carolina Governor

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, left, tweeted this photograph with actress Jennifer Garner, centre, saying, 'WVa's Jennifer Garner got the full #SCisGreat pitch from us tonight at Indian Ambassador's residence.'

Garner was in Washington, DC for the NGA, where she addressed and attended various panels.

Photograph: Kind courtesy @henrymcmaster/Twitter.com

Indiana Governor

Among those talking about the reception on social media was Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, right.

Photograph: Kind courtesy @GovHolcomb/Twitter.com

Iowa Governor

Also in attendance was Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, left.

Photograph: Kind courtesy IndianUSA/Facebook.com

Governors Reception Indian Embassy

'Apart from the governors and their spouses,' the embassy noted, 'there was strong presence from US and Indian industry as well as chambers of commerce, think-tanks and prominent media personalities.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy IndianUSA/Facebook.com

Monali Sarkar / Rediff.com