Indian ambassador visits
Ambassador Nirupama Rao addresses UD students, faculty
4:03 p.m., May 7, 2012--Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao spoke to an audience of Indian-Americans, University of Delaware students and faculty about relations between India and the United States during a special session held May 1 in the Trabant University Center Theatre.
UD President Patrick Harker welcomed Ambassador Rao and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), the main speakers at the event.
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“I am pleased and honored to welcome the ambassador to Delaware today,” said Coons, who serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs and also is a member of the Budget, Energy and Natural Resources, and Judiciary committees. “Ambassador Rao is one of the most distinguished and well-respected diplomats in our nation’s capital and we are extremely honored that she is with us today.”
Coons went on to stress the friendship between the United States and India, calling it “strong, broad and unshakable.”
“As the two largest democracies in the world, we share deep economic, political, strategic and cultural ties,” Coons said, adding that “President Obama has described the U.S.-India relationship as the defining partnership of the 21st century.”
Rao then spoke about the importance of the U.S.-India relationship, especially in the realm of economics and cultural exchange. She said that the two countries are unique in that both have common characteristics but also face many challenges. “There are immense opportunities between the two countries,” she continued.
Turning specifically to the UD faculty and students, Rao praised their “remarkable job in building bridges of understanding between the two nations.”
UD, she noted, has over 20 collaborative partnerships with India in different research programs focusing on topics such as clean water and environmental issues. This June, the embassy will sponsor the first U.S.-India educational dialogue, she said.
Rao, who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973, served in various capitals including Washington, Beijing and Moscow before assuming her responsibilities as Ambassador of India to the United States in September 2011.
The audience asked several questions of the ambassador, who answered graciously and informatively. One such question was why it is not easy for Indian-Americans to get visas to go to their homeland for short visits. She responded by saying that the many Indian consulates and the embassy provide services to those who intend to go and visit India for a longer period by obtaining a special visa.
After the talk, Harker invited the audience to chat with Rao and Coons in Bayard Sharp Hall, where UDairy Creamery ice cream was served.
India has the largest population of immigrants in the U.S. after Mexico and China. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Asian Indian population in the United States grew from almost 1,678,765 in 2000 to 2,843,391 in 2010, a growth rate of 69.37 percent, one of the fastest among ethnic groups in the United States.
To read more about U.S.-India relations, visit the Embassy of India’s website.
For more information on the Indo-American Association of Delaware, visit this website.
Article by Fariba Amini
Photos by Evan Krape