Underlining the transformation in India-US ties in the last two decades, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that a key driver in this change has been the human element which includes 4.4 million Indian diaspora that has defined India's image in US society.
He made these remarks during an event at the Howard University for India-US Education Collaboration.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also delivered remarks and participated in a conversation with students, faculty, and leadership of Howard University.
Blinken and Jaishankar interacted with Indian students, scholars, and researchers who have worked in the United States, and US students, scholars, and researchers who have studied, worked, or conducted research at an Indian higher education institution.
"Howard University is not just a part of a shared past. It is very much part of the future that awaits us. As we contemplate that, a big part and role in that will be played by the relationship between the two countries and that relationship has undergone a real transformation in the last two decades whether it is our strategic or security cooperation or our economy or technology partnership, it is making its weight felt increasingly in world affairs," Jaishankar said in the presence of Blinken.
The minister noted that a key driver in this change has been the human element. "The 4.4 million Indian diaspora has literally defined our image in this society and helped forge relationships that are an enormous source of strength for us," he said.
"At its centre are students, academics, and professionals who have contributed to America's progress even as they remained a bridge between the two societies," he added.
Speaking about the India-US connect, Jaishankar said the most powerful symbol of the ties is the inspirational bond between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Junior. "That bond was forged through the relationship with Howard Thurman, the dean of the chapel and later by Dr William Stuart Nelson who was the dean of the school of the religion," he added.
For India-US ties to grow, Jaishankar said that it is necessary that there is a better understanding of India and the world, on the part of young Americans.
This event was seen as an opportunity to build off Monday's announcement during the 2+2 Ministerial of the formation of a 'Working Group on Education and Skill Training.