CANOGA PARK, Calif. – Speaking at an Indian American community meet and greet luncheon on July 17, India’s Ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Singh Sandhu, highlighted the progress being made in the medical sector. India, as part of the Quad group of nations, will be mass producing over one billion Covid vaccines, he said. The U.S. will provide the technology, Japan the financing, Australia the lift power, and India, with its proven standing in global healthcare wherein it currently produces 60% of the world’s medicines, will be uniquely qualified to mass produce the vaccines.

The meet and greet held at the Royal Delhi Palace here was the first community event that gave an opportunity to the Los Angeles Indian American diaspora to get to know the ambassador, who was making his maiden visit to California after assuming office. It was hosted by the India Association of Los Angeles and, as its chairman, Sunil Agarwal executed the event as a wider community one, inviting 35 different organizations to attend. In an appreciated move, IALA did not sell tickets nor urge invitees to book tables to offset costs.

Speaking at the event, Sandhu went on to say that the recent Covid surge in India had displayed and strengthened U.S.-India ties with President Joe Biden calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi and offering immediate assistance.

“U.S. industry came through big time with $4 million in assistance and four Fedex planes delivered much needed medical supplies. The future lies in Indo-U.S. relations,” the ambassador said. He also pointed out that U.S. and India solidarity was visible in the fact that 300 U.S. congressional representatives and multiple high-ranking congressional caucuses took India’s side and rushed to deliver a multi-pronged assistance initiative.

The consul general of India in San Francisco, Dr. Nagendra Prasad, in his speech stated that the ambassador’s visit to California was also in part to accept the delivery of U.S. made military helicopters for the Indian navy. The large attendance at the event, he added, was an indication of the community’s attachment to India. He said the consulate was always open to serve Indian American needs.

Also present at the function were Congressmen Brad Sherman and Jimmy Gomez. Sherman, well known to the community, said to applause that he had been consistently attending IALA’s annual India Independence Day celebrations for the last 25 years. He also explained that last month he authored House Resolution 402 to obtain India the status of a NATO ally to the U.S. This, he stated, coincides well with the ambassador’s visit to San Diego to receive the U.S. military helicopters.

Gomez, a past resident of the San Fernando Valley, brought attention to the fact that Los Angeles’ own Eric Garcetti has been tapped to serve as the U.S. ambassador to India. He offered the services of his office for any assistance needed by the Indian American community.

IALA also invited Kewal Kanda to speak on behalf of long serving community members and philanthropist Ganpatbhai Patel on giving back.

Office bearers of IALA praised the group’s founders, the late Inder Singh and businessman Kumar Jawa; it was their vision 25 years ago that brought notice to the Indian American community of the San Fernando Valley.

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