Indian embassy to add cultural wing: Nirupama Rao

Will act like a ‘think tank’, says outgoing ambassador.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: The Indian Embassy here has finalized to add a cultural wing, said the outgoing ambassador Nirupama Rao, at a dinner here last night.

A number of US government officials and a veritable who’s-who of the local Indian American community attended the farewell dinner for Rao, at her residence.

Rao thanked the US Congress for being a friend of hers during her term, and called the relationship between the US and India a “defining partnership [for] the 21st century.” In particular, she thanked Patrick F. Kennedy, the Under Secretary of State for Management, who was present at the dinner as well.

Rao described herself as someone who has “spent 40 years in pursuit of diplomacy.”

She also mentioned that during her time as ambassador – which began two years ago, in August of 2011 – the Indian Embassy finalized plans to begin a cultural wing, which she said will be like a “think tank” for India, and “will showcase [India’s] millennial culture” to Americans.

Rao stressed how important the US-India partnership is, saying that it is critical to make sure that this relationship does not falter after all the work that has been put into it to get it to the state where it is now. At the end of her speech, Rao simply said “till we met again,” and left the podium to thunderous applause.

Judge Sri Srinivasan, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was present, as was Nisha Desai Biswal, the assistant Secretary of State for south and central Asia. Robert Blake, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, and a former Ambassador himself to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and soon-to-be of Indonesia, was also present.

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