Consul General of India discusses Indo-American relations

Alyssa Schiffman, Staff Writer

From Nov. 2–4, Armstrong held the 2016 Symposium on India with many events throughout campus to honor and celebrate Indian culture.

The Symposium kicked off Wednesday with an International Café and culminated Friday with the Diwali Festival of lights. One of the main events held Thursday night was a lecture on Indo-American relations presented by the Honorable Consul General of India in Atlanta, Mr. Nagesh Singh.

Singh has a long history working in Indo-American relations. Fluent in Hindi, English and French, Singh held several high-ranking offices within the Indian government prior to being appointed Consul General, including Joint Secretary/Officer on Special Duty to the Vice President of India, Director in the Ministry of External Affairs and more. He holds his degrees in Economics from the University of Delhi and the Delhi School of Economics.

Singh also joined the Symposium as a guest speaker for two other events, including a lecture held on Friday “discussing the values of studying abroad in Asia and India.”

During his lecture, Singh discussed in-depth the history and importance of Indo-American Relations. With one of the world’s largest populations, India has grown into an economic and political presence to rival the United States and China since their economic reforms beginning in 1991.

A Q&A session followed the lecture where audience members asked questions ranging from those about Indian-Pakistan relations to Indian music genres. Light refreshments were served before the event which included various Indian sweets and snacks.

Topics discussed included mutual economic growth, fighting climate change and increasing civic development, all of which, Singh stressed, are “challenges we are taking up together.”

According to Singh, the Indo-American relationship has been a “major defining partner” in the world economy and political spheres.

Utilizing “U.S. infrastructure and Indian brainpower,” our two nations continue to work together to “strive for clean energy solutions,” beginning the “Smart Cities Mission” to improve sustainability, science and technology and quality-of-life improvements involving public health and food security.

While India and the United States are culturally very different, our economies and political spheres are more intertwined and interconnected than ever before. It is vital to learn to maintain our “symbiotic relationship,” as Singh described it, in order to continue improving relationships. And these relationships, according to Singh, start from the student bodies.

“India has over 500 million people less than 25 years of age. Right now there are 23 million in the University education system, but the demand is about 100 million. We simply don’t have those seats. So what happens is when these students go abroad to the United States, Canada or Australia to study [. . .] these relationships continue to build,” Singh explained.

If students wish to hear more on this topic, Singh will speak again Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Coastal Georgia Center at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 for the general public and free for students and military.