The Chennai Chapter of the EWCA celebrated EWC Day on May 28, 2009 at the Madras Boat Club, with a ‘Talk’ on “Indo-US Relations Today” by the Chief Guest, Mr. Fred Kaplan, Consul for Public Affairs, US Consulate General, Chennai. It was a ‘hat-trick’ event. We were fortunate to have him participate in our EWC Day celebrations for three years consecutive years! The alumni attended in good strength and distinguished invitees were equally thrilled to be there on this happy occasion. The ‘Talk’ was followed by Fellowship and dinner.
Mr. P. M. Belliappa, the President of the Chapter welcomed the gathering. Dr. Gopalji Malviya, Professor and Head of the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies of the University of Madras presided over the function. Mr. Belliappa took the opportunity of thanking Mr. Fred Kaplan for his continued interest in the activities of the Chapter. He then bid farewell to Mr. Kaplan on behalf of the Chapter who was under orders of transfer to Brazil. Farewell mementos were presented to Mr. Kaplan on behalf of the EWCA Chennai Chapter.
Mr. Kaplan listed several positive indicators of the good relations that prevailed between India and the United States, such as the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, the large number of Indian students in the US, the important role played by Indian Americans in shaping American policy towards India. He clarified that visa and immigration constraints were not directed against qualified Indians seeking skilled jobs in the US. There was also a growing interest in US in Indian culture, philosophy, spirituality and way of life. He cited the examples of American writers, Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg, being greatly influenced by India.
In trade and economic relations, he referred to American companies which invested in India without generally bringing expatriates to man various positions, as they enlisted suitable Indians. Another indicator of upward trade and economic relations was the increasing number of visitors including visa seekers to US which stood at approximately over 20,000 a month.
He thanked the Chapter for having associated him in its various activities and took the opportunity of bidding farewell and said that he was carrying back fond memories of his stay in Chennai.
Dr. Gopalji Malviya, in his remarks, traced the American presence in Chennai since the 18th century and pointed out several instances of US policy trying to be helpful to India particularly in fighting terrorism, developing nuclear energy, business, academic and cultural exchanges.
Dr. Roopa Nagarajan proposed the vote of thanks.