Royce, Gephardt, Chertoff, Clark headline Capitol Hill reception for VIF’s Vij

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Royce calls for bilateral trade agreement between US and India.

Guests at the Capitol Hill reception in honor of VIF’s Gen. Nirmal Vij on March 2. Third from right is the host Dr. Devendra Verma.

WASHINGTON, DC: Rep. Ed Royce (R-California), former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and Democratic presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark were among headliners at a reception hosted in honor of Nirmal Chander Vij (VIF), Director of the Vivekananda International Foundation.

The reception, held at the Capitol Hill Visitors Center on March 2, was hosted by tech entrepreneur and investor Dr. Devendra Verma and Vishal Verma, a Senior General Partner at Edgewood Ventures.

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Vij was in town as part of VIF delegation to Washington. VIF, a think tank based in New Delhi, has the mission of becoming an incubator for “ideas and thoughts that can lead to a stronger, secure and prosperous India.”

Speaking at the reception, Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, called for a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and India.

He also praised the accomplishments of the Indian American community. “[We] are delighted that among the Indo American population that we have in the United States, one half of them have post graduate degrees,” he said. When we think about what that pertains…we know that there is a very bright future for Indo Americans.”

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Clark called for greater cooperation between the United States and India. “We have all kinds of manufacturing opportunities [in India],” he said. “India is blessed with a diverse work force, [with] lots of great people who want to work. We see India as the next China in terms of rapid economic growth.”

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Gen. Vij retired from the Indian Army as the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee after serving for more than 42 years.

Others attended the reception included former SelectUSA Director Vinai K. Thummalapally, US-India Business Council President Mukesh Aghi, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency James Lee Witt and former Aarkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker.