Washington | Applauding Taranjit Singh Sandhu for his leadership in strengthening the India-US relationship, senior Biden administration officials have said that the outgoing Indian Ambassador has made the groundwork for a “thousand flowers to bloom” in the garden of bilateral ties.
A farewell reception hosted on Monday at the India House in honour of Sadhu, who will retire from the foreign service after more than three decades of a glorious career, later this month. The reception was attended by officials from the Biden administration and the think-tank community.
“Ambassador, you have served India well and have made the groundwork for thousands and more than a thousand flowers to bloom," said Rahul Gupta, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the White House.
"Thank you for your leadership and your accomplishment and for setting the groundwork,” he said.
“I don't think there is another ambassador in this city (like Sandhu) who has been as active, as creative, as much up in our DMs (Direct Messages), our Signal and our WhatsApp with new ideas to strengthen this relationship,” said Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
“If you look at where we were, which was already a pretty strong place before you started and where we are now, I think a huge amount of the credit goes to Ambassador Sandhu," she said.
"I think everybody in this room would agree. Not only that, but he's just a delight to work with because he is always up, he is always creative, and he is always looking to make the situation better. We're going to miss you very, very much,” Nuland said.
Frank Kendall, US Secretary of the Air force, said Sandhu has played a key role in this relationship.
“Our friendship has grown over the years, as our relationship with our two countries has grown. We met when you were the Deputy Chief of Mission here about 10 years ago, I think. I was working with Ash Carter, at the Pentagon at the time, and I took over the leadership from him with the defence technology and trade initiative and we worked together to build that,” he said.
“You talked about the garden. I think the garden has matured. It's been well-attended and I think in addition to the pretty flowers, there are some fruits and vegetables that I think are very nourishing in that garden and I think are going to do as well going into the future,” Kendall said.
In his remarks, Sandhu said that the India-US relationship has now matured. “That's the most satisfying part. It's like a garden. Well-attended garden. There are always some challenges which come, but at the end of the day, the flowers are booming and increasing,” he said.
“Some of you who were here in 2016 will remember that when my prime minister addressed the US Congress, he used the word, we have overcome the hesitations of history... This relationship has grown, matured, and blossomed. So it was apt when my prime minister came last year,” he said.
“And he said, I'm quoting him. ‘The scope of our cooperation is endless. The potential of our synergies is limitless, and the chemistry of our relations is effortless.' I think if I look around the room, I can see so many people who have made it happen,” Sandhu said.