The Federation of Indian Association of NY, NJ, CT Aug. 7 hosted a welcome reception for Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, the newly-appointed Consul General of India in New York.

While in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event, held at the Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, New Jersey, was an intimate affair due to New Jersey state and local restrictions and regulations on gatherings.

Guests were checked in by FIA volunteers after which their temperature was checked, prior to entering the reception venue. Each guest was handed a complementary face covering as well, a news release said.

FIA leadership, prominent members of the Indian American community and members of the press attended the event. Guests networked and mingled with each other, observing social distancing guidelines, the release added.

Andy Bhatia, member of the FIA Board of Trustees, hosted the evening. FIA leaders including president Anil Bansal, chairman Ankur Vaidya, senior advisers Sudhir S. Parikh and H.R. Shah, among others, welcomed Jaiswal and Deputy Consul General Shatrughan Sinha, it said.

Dr. V.K. Raju, founder and president of the Eye Foundation of America, spoke about the importance of vision and the role his organization plays in restoring vision for the underprivileged community in India and around the world, it noted.

Mahesh Bhagia, chairman of the Edison Democratic Party, delivered a proclamation from the State Assembly to Jaiswal. 

Dipak Patel, of the FIA Board of Trustees, introduced the consul general. Prior to being appointed the consul general of India in New York, Jaiswal was the Joint Secretary cum Social Secretary to the President of India Ramnath Kovind.

A 1998 Indian Foreign Service officer, Jaiswal headed the foreign affairs office of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and advised the President on India’s foreign policy.

Prior to that he served as the consul general of India in Johannesburg in South Africa. 

“The Indian story all over the world is very engrossing, very deep” Jaiswal said in his address. “It is a story that carries a message of peace and harmony.”

Jaiswal lauded the FIA for putting a stamp on New York City with its flagship India Day Parade “which has become iconic, not just in New York and in this country, but all over the world,” according to the release.

He noted that the Indian American story is that of “peace and progress,” as well as a story of “sharing and caring for others.”

And that, he said, is what defines the community and has also become its identity. He urged the community to keep playing a pivotal role in “strengthening the friendship between the U.S. and India, which is going to be a defining pathway of the century.”

He said he is looking forward to the time when the Indian American community “will have a stronger imprint of our strength, of our hard work, of our identity, culture, color, and vibrancy, in this country and everywhere else, the news release added. 

The consulate will “have an engaging relationship with the FIA,” he said, and added that during this time of the pandemic “we have to see how to hold each other's hands and see how best we can help each other,” the release said.

He said he looks forward to interacting with the Indian American community which is full of “great ideas and great energy.”

Meanwhile, FIA will be hosting the first ever flag hoisting ceremony at Times Square in New York City Aug. 15, to commemorate India’s Independence Day.

It will be the first time ever that India’s tricolor will be unfurled at the iconic venue in all its glory, a release said. Jaiswal will be the guest of honor at the event.

The FIA also will be illuminating the Empire State Building in the tricolors — orange, white and green – to mark India's Independence Day. This year’s lighting ceremony will be held on Aug. 14, according to the release.

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