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Politics, policy, and philosophy: these were the topics discussed at Indiaspora’s 5th U.S.-India Bilateral Dialogue, which took place Monday, June 26, at The Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, DC. The sidelines dialogue coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Washington, DC, since the change in the Administration. While PM Modi met with President Trump at the White House, Indiaspora’s members and prominent leaders from various sectors in the Indian-American community convened at The Top of the Hay overlooking the White House for an intimate day-long discussion with politicians, academics and fellow philanthropists active in the U.S.-India space.
The morning politics session featured guests Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8), a freshman Indian-American member of Congress, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2), the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, who serves on the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. Congressman Krishnamoorthi, whose district in northern Chicago has a 9 percent Indian-American population, spoke to the strides that Indian-Americans are making in increasing their visibility and representation at different levels of government. Both Members spoke to the progress achieved and still needed in the Indian-American community, and Congresswoman Gabbard mentioned that she hoped key positions in the Department of State on India relations would be staffed soon. In addition, the Congresswoman announced a sister-city partnership between India’s Goa and her home state of Hawaii.
The afternoon policy panel featured think tank experts Rick Rossow, the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS; Vikram Singh, the Vice President for National Security and International Policy at Center for American Progress; and Ambassador Nirupama Rao, Public Policy Fellow at Wilson Center’s Asia Program. Topics spanned the recent past, current and future developments for an increasingly strong alliance between India and the U.S. in terms of trade, investment, and defense.
Indiaspora’s members from across the U.S. and India discussed the ways philanthropy is being redefined bilaterally in the final session of the dialogue. Participants included Sejal Hathi, on Indiaspora’s Board of Directors, who also had a private audience with PM Modi , as well as Indiaspora’s members: Navneet Chugh of Chugh LLP, from Los Angeles; Ashok Mago, Chairman and CEO of Mago and Associates, who was instrumental in forming the Senate India Caucus, from Dallas; Ajay Mago, a Partner at Culhane Meadows, from Chicago; Preeti Sinha, Senior President and Global Convenor of the YES INSTITUTE at Yes Bank Limited, based in India and New York; and Sriram Viswanathan, Founding Managing Partner at IndusAge Global Capital Managers, based in the Bay Area.
In addition, invited participants at the dialogue included Deven Verma, of Edgewood Ventures; Medha Jaishankar, who is active in the tech innovation space with JetSynthesys; Raju Chinthala, founder of the Asian-American Indiana PAC and Indiana India Business Council; and Shiv Khemka, Vice Chairman of the Sun Group and Chairman of The Global Education & Leadership Foundation.
Indiaspora’s Reception: Celebrating U.S.-India Relations
The evening prior, on June 25, Indiaspora hosted an intimate reception: Celebrating U.S.-India Relations, also in Washington, DC. Indiaspora’s members and invited guests had a lively discussion while enjoying a stunning view of the Capitol from the balcony of the offices at Nelson Mullins (thank you Vinoda Basnayake). Many of the attendees at Indiaspora’s reception also attended a community event with PM Modi, hosted by the Indian embassy, earlier that afternoon.
Notable guests at Indiaspora’s reception included South Asia expert Sadanand Dhume, Resident Fellow at American Enterprise Institute; Indiaspora member Shekar Narasimhan, Brig. General Balan Ayyar, and Indo-American musician-composer Kanniks Kannikeswaran. Several Indian American young professionals also attended, including Hill staffers and Administration officials.
Select pictures from the events, including attendees of the reception and dialogue, can be seen below.
While the dialogue was closed to the press, subsequent media coverage of both the dialogue and reception can be found below as well.