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Why US lawmakers think Meera Shankar is a rock star

April 01, 2011 10:58 IST

American lawmakers, who were attending the Confederation of Indian Industry's launch of a new study on Indian investment in the United States at a Congressional reception on Capitol Hill, showered Ambassador Meera Shankar with a surfeit of kudos, much to her embarrassment.
Congressman Joe Crowley, New York Democrat and co-chair of the India Caucus in the US House of Representatives, said, "Ambassador you are a rock star".

He also spoke of her receiving "a rock star welcome in Jackson Heights, Queens, last year and it was quite remarkable."
When Shankar protested that it was because of Crowley and not her, the lawmaker said, "No, it was all about you ambassador, I know. They see me quite often -- it was all about you. But it was wonderful to have you in my district and thank you for that honour, and my constituents look forward to your coming back again soon."
"You are doing a wonderful job as the ambassador of your country and it really is a great relationship that we have," he said.

Crowley elaborated, "It's an honest and open one. So, I am very appreciative of all you do for your country."
Not to be outdone, Congressman Jim McDermott, Washington state Democrat and a former co-chair of the India Caucus, said, "I have been going to India since 1989 and have had experiences with all of the (Indian) ambassadors (to the US) during that period of time and the best one is now here."
McDermott then warned the audience not to mention to the others that he had said so, to peals of laughter.
Republican Congressman Ed Royce, GOP co-chair of the India Caucus, declared, "Ambassador Shankar in my view is one of the ablest people in the diplomatic corps."

Aziz Haniffa in Washington