Washington, Jan 21:
Indian Americans gathered for the presidential gala here to celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the US.
The gala, which was attended by a hundred Indian Americans, took place at the Grand Ballroom of the central Mayflower hotel in Washington and was organised by the Asian Pacific American Advisory Council and National Committee of Asian American Republicans, American Bazaar online reported on Friday.
The event was attended by the ambassadors of several countries, including the Indian ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna.
“This is a great celebration of Asian success,” said Sarna, speaking on the occasion. “I am very happy that Indian Americans are part of the successful large Asian community.”
“It was a grand success,” Virginia Republican Puneet Ahluwalia, one of the organisers of the event, told the American Bazaar.
“We were able to create a platform for the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islanders) community to come together and celebrate the Trump election. The gala also made a strong statement that we are very much part of the American mainstream and will play an effective role in the next administration.”
Ahluwalia added that by showing up in good numbers, the Indian American community has made showed their desire for “the US-India relationship to be on the front and centre for the next administration.”
Top diplomats from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, South Korea and Singapore attended the gala.
Dozens of dignitaries attended the event, including Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, Representative Barbara Comstack, Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ralph DLG Torres as well as a number of Republican leaders from various Asian American and Pacific Islanders communities.
“The [Trump] administration is looking to increase its relationship with the Asian countries,” Royce said. “We should reach out to our friends in Asia. We will work to further and deepen this relationship.”
The California Republican is the chairman of the House Foreign Relations committee and one of the most staunchly pro-India voices in the US Congress.
Indian American Republicans who were present included Californian K.V. Kumar, Floridian Harry Walia and Puneet Ahluwalia. All the three are members of Trump-Pence campaign’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Committee.
However, the fourth Indian American member of the panel, Shalabh Kumar, did not attend the gala.
The formal part of the ball began with a rendition of the US national anthem. Indian food and Bollywood dance were other highlights of the event. (IANS)