By P.M. Belliappa (RS ’78)
Chennai Chapter President
The East-West Center Alumni Association, Chennai Chapter celebrated its Annual Day on May 28, 2008 at the Strokeside Hall of the Madras Boat Club (founded in 1886).
The Chief guest, Mr. Frederick J. Kaplan, Consul, Public Affairs, American Consulate General in Chennai, delivered a talk on “Indo-US Relations: Past, Present and Future.” Professor Dr. Gopalji Malviya, Head of the Department Defence and Strategic Studies University, presided. Interestingly, Mr. Fred Kaplan was the Chief Guest last year at the same venue. It was sort of a review of Indo-US relations during the twelve-month period that had elapsed.
Mr. P. M. Belliappa, President, welcomed the guests and highlighted the role of EWC in promoting better understanding between the East and West, and building cross cultural relations, thus contributing to a more friendly social fabric in the region, which in turn would secure peace and prosperity for communities living around the Pacific Rim. He also made mention of the activities that the Chapter was engaged in, particularly the EWC-Fulbright joint Environment Programme, supported by USEFI.
Professor Malviya outlined the Indo-US relationship from India’s independence onwards and observed that a sea change has taken place since the early days, when there were highs and lows in the relationship
Delivering his keynote address Mr. Fred Kaplan said that United States and India are marching ahead in cooperation in various fields. He was emphatic that the future growth and development of relations between the two countries is very promising. Besides the energy issue which is just one aspect of the relationship, the US Consul said there are positive indicators of cooperation in many areas like higher education, health, and security. He talked about the people-to-people cooperation and said that the two countries have an extraordinarily close relationship today.
There was a lively interactive session with the audience, in the course of which the speakers answered questions quite forthrightly.
Souvenirs as tokens of appreciation were presented to Messers Fred Kaplan, Gopalji Malviya, and Randor Guy, the celebrated cinema critique, who was specially invited to present the All Time Classic American Film, Casablanca. After Randor gave his very interesting highlights and sidelights the movie was screened over cocktails and dinner.