US cancel high profile visits to India, but India’s scientists are here, film awards to be held in Tampa

Diplomatic relations at a low, but crème de la crème of Bollywood set to travel this month.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Although the diplomatic row between the US and India over Devyani Khobragade has claimed some causalities, such as trips to India by Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, traffic in the other direction doesn’t seem to have stopped at all, although with some hiccups.

The International Indian Film Academy Awards will take place in the US this year for the first time. Now in its fifteenth year, the awards will go on a three-city tour in Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, and New York City from January 13-15, with the awards ceremony itself taking place in Tampa Bay, Florida from April 24-26.

Also from India to the US is an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) team, here in the US now on a two-day trip to attend the 2014 Space Exploration Conference and Heads of Space Agency Summit.

The rub, however, is that the delegation has come without its government minister nor the ISRO head himself, Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, likely because of the Khobragade scandal that is roiling both nations.

The convention, held in Washington, DC, features delegations from the US, China, Germany, and Russia, among other nations. The goal of the event is to allow space agencies from different countries to come together and potentially partner up for further expeditions into space. Now that India is planning missions to Mars and the moon, it is emerging as a strong player in this regard on the global stage.

There is the possibility that the US will begin sending its diplomatic envoys back to India in the near future, as Biswal’s office has indicated that she is willing to go sooner rather than later, perhaps even as early as next week. But the precarious situation between the two nations has stifled any US desire to send its bureaucrats to India.

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