External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday highlighted the major achievements of India in the field of space, technology and pharmacy and said that the new India is an India of Chandrayaan, an India of CoWIN, and an India of 5G.
He made the statement while addressing the Indian diaspora at the ‘Colors of Friendship’ event at India House in Washington DC.
While addressing the event, Jaishankar said, "So I mentioned this to you because it's a great achievement (success of Chandrayaan-3)... Yes, we've joined the special club, but today in many ways, the new India is an India of Chandraayan, it's an India of CoWIN, it's an India of 5G."
The EAM further said that the India-US relationship has exceeded expectations and has raised the bar.
"This is really what we are capable of, and it is this India today that the United States also sees. It is this India with which the United States actually has an appetite for working, much more closely," he said.
Sharing his experience of meeting the incredible people behind the success of Chandrayaan-3, Jaishankar shared a story.
"I had the privilege when we (Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi and I) were abroad. When the landing took place, we were at a meeting in South Africa. Obviously, we took time off from the meeting, you all saw Prime Minister was following the landing and was talking to the ISRO. Because these are tense moments, however confident anybody is about a mission at that period, you want to have somebody around you who would give you reassurance," he said.
Adding to this, Jaishankar stressed that no one can give assurance better than PM Modi.
"Believe me, nobody can do the assurance better than Mr Modi. He's today reassuring the entire country, in many ways the whole world," he said.
Further detailing the story, he said that as the Chandryaan-3 was successfully landed, PM Modi decided to directly land in Bengaluru to meet the people behind the soft landing.
"It all went well and then he decided that instead of flying back to Delhi, he would actually land directly in Bengaluru and go straight to the ISRO headquarters. Now, fortunately, I mean, since I was travelling with him, I too had a chance to tag along," he said.
Being a former member of the Space Commission, Jaishankar expressed his delight and said, "I have been interested in space and nuclear for a long part of my career. When you sat there and there was this room of about a thousand people, at one level, they looked like the most normal people you could think of, yet you could feel they were the most special people. And the kind of confidence they exuded, because I could actually be sitting among them, actually asked them, saying, so how tense were you guys? Did you see it? Were you worried? What were the possibilities of something not going the way you thought? And I must tell you, their confidence, their conviction about the mission was simply amazing..."
Jaishankar further shared that as that feeling got stuck in his mind, he thought of visiting the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, located in Kerala.
"Because it stuck so deeply in my mind, that a few weeks later, I went to Kerala. In Kerala, they have an institute that trains people in space. It's called the IISST, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology...there were people who were the feedstock of our space program," he noted.
The minister further praised the students for their capabilities in the space program.
Jaishankar said, "When you see today what these young people in their graduate and postgraduate degree processes, what they are capable of, what they have done, the kind of things which they have themselves invented, which feed, by the way, a lot of it feeds directly into the space program. So I mentioned this to you because, yes, it's a great achievement."
Highlighting an interesting fact, the minister noted that some of the recent things India and the US have done together start with the alphabet 'I'.
"It's an interesting discovery we made that if you look at some of the recent things in India we've done together, they all start with the alphabet 'I'. So we just spoke about this Middle Eastern Corridor. It's called IMEC India, India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor. There was an earlier initiative called 12U2-- India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States."
Adding to this, he also said, "All of you are familiar today with the term Indo-Pacific…." He further said that the alphabet 'I' is good for the US.
"Somewhere, people have figured this one out. Go for the alphabet I, then pick a word. Hopefully, there's a country there. There are good people out there. Those are the guys you need to work with," he added.
Moreover, lauding the India-US relationship, Jaishankar highlighted the journey of the India-US relationship which has come so far in the past years.
"This relationship today, I started at a time in the early 80s when you actually had to explain where you're from, what you're about know, it's good to see members of congress here. Those were tough days. They didn't even let you into the rooms in the congress. And at that time, there was no Indian American member of Congress at that time. But if one looks at the journey, how far we've come and how deep the relationship is," he stressed.
Emphasising “chemistry and comfort”, Jaishankar said that today India and the US have come up as “desirable, optimal and comfortable” partners.
Several senior officials of the Biden administration including; US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma, President Biden's domestic policy advisor Neera Tanden, and Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Dr Rahul Gupta were part of the reception.US lawmakers Shri Thanedar and Rick McCormik, Democrat and Republican, were present at the event.