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S Jaishankar is ‘architect’ of modern India-US ties, says top Biden official

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NEW DELHI : A top Biden administration official has heaped praise on External Affairs Minister Shri S Jaishankar, calling him “incredibly talented” and an “architect” of modern India-US relations.

Richard Verma, the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, the highest ranking Indian-American ever in the US State Department, made the remarks on Saturday at an event at the Indian Embassy held to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of Indian culture and the India-US relationship.

“We would not be in the strong place that we are today, but for the External Affairs Minister’s leadership,” said Verma, who served as US Ambassador to India under the Barack Obama administration and is the first-ever Indian American to be the US envoy to India.

Recently, Jaishankar was on a week-long visit to the US, where he addressed the UN General Assembly, met Secretary of State Antony Blinken and participated in community and think-tank events.

Verma, the top Biden official, cited the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and said the bilateral ties between India and the US were built on shared ideas and shared values.

“Top among those is a commitment to democracy and social justice. (Mahatma) Gandhi would write to President (Franklin D) Roosevelt in 1942 that he had ‘profited greatly by the writings of Thoreau and Emerson’ and some years later, Dr. Martin Luther) King would write, ‘It was Gandhi and (his) emphasis on love and non-violence that I discovered the method for social reform and that Gandhi’s philosophy was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom’,” Verma said.

He mentioned an anecdote of his father who decided to settle in the US and said that his journey to become a Deputy Secretary of State was not only an “American story”, but an “Indian story” too.

“It was the reason that, 60 years ago, my father chose this country to settle in, arriving, as he likes to remind us, with only $14 (currently Rs 1,164) in his pocket and a bus ticket. The rest, they say, is history. For his kid to go on and serve as the US ambassador to the country of his roots and now serve as Deputy Secretary of State is the longest of long shots. But it is a very American story and it is a very Indian story too,” he said.

He lauded the Indian-American community for their “hardwork” in strengthening the India-US partnership and said it was “one of the most consequential relationships of this century.”

“Will we have bumps in the road? Of course, but two close friends aligned with these shared values, bonded together by the great ideas of Gandhi-King and so many others and solidified by all of your sacrifices. This is a partnership with staying power, with real impact and that will continue to have an outside influence in the world,” Verma further said.

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