United States Joins With Indian Diaspora Luminaries to Celebrate 75 Years of U.S.-India Relations

New Delhi — The U.S. Mission in India (comprising the Embassy in New Delhi and Consulates General in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad) today released a star-studded video message to celebrate 75 years of U.S.-India relations, with participation by some of the most iconic and accomplished Indian Americans and Indians in America, whose remarkable contributions reflect the journey of Indians in the United States over the past 75 years. The full video can be viewed here.

Chargé d’Affaires Patricia Lacina stated: “At the core of the U.S.-India partnership are the countless personal friendships formed over the years between individual Americans and Indians as they study, work, live, and learn together.  The contributors to this video stand at the pinnacle of their respective fields of endeavor, highlighting the many ways that these people-to-people connections have helped both our countries thrive.”

The video features (in alphabetical order): tennis ambassador, philanthropist and filmmaker Ashok Amritraj; author and wellness pioneer Dr. Deepak Chopra; activist, first Indian Miss America and actor Nina Davuluri; CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta; tabla virtuoso, composer and music ambassador Zakir Hussain; food and travel author, TV chef and actor Madhur Jaffrey; actor, producer and philanthropist Priyanka Chopra Jonas; television host, producer, food expert and author Padma Lakshmi; comedian, actor and television host Aasif Mandvi; literary author and journalist Suketu Mehta; U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy; film director and producer Mira Nair; former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo and author Indra Nooyi; 2019 Scripps Spelling Bee Champion Shruthika Padhy; 2020 TIME Magazine Kid of the Year, scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao.

People-to-people ties are one of the cornerstones of the U.S.-India relationship.  In 2019, 15 million Indian visitors traveled to the United States, and Americans are now the second-largest group of foreign citizens visiting India.  Approximately 200,000 Indian students currently enrich U.S. university campuses as they pursue higher education opportunities.  The Indian American diaspora numbers an estimated four million people, and roughly one-third of all immigrant-founded start-ups in the United States have Indian founders.

The U.S. Mission in India will continue 75th Anniversary celebrations with a range of events across the country throughout this year.

PROFILES OF VIDEO PARTICIPANTS:

Ashok Amritraj

Tennis Ambassador, Philanthropist and Filmmaker

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Ashok Amritraj is often regarded as one of the earliest faces and ambassadors of Indians’ presence in the world of sports, and certainly in America.  He played professional tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, representing India at both domestic and international level. He entered the main draw of Wimbledon, French Open and US Open. He was among the first to represent Indian presence in modern tennis and one of the few Indian faces on American television at the time. In his post-tennis career, Amritraj entered the field of entertainment becoming CEO of National Geographic Films in the U.S. and now Chairman and CEO of the Hyde Park Entertainment Group. Amritraj has made over 100 films during the span of his 35-year career.  Among his current projects is a biopic of tennis player Arthur Ashe in partnership with Warner Music Group.  In 2016, Amritraj was appointed as the first United Nations India Goodwill Ambassador for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Deepak Chopra

Author, Wellness Pioneer

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Dr. Deepak Chopra is a pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation.  He is the founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality.  For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and has received many awards for his work in America and internationally.  TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”  Chopra holds multiple positions at a number of U.S. universities and is author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. 

Dr. Chopra was born in India just as India was receiving independence from British colonialism. He writes, “I consider myself part of the generation referred to as midnight’s children, as in Salman Rushdie’s book.  I grew up immediately post-independence with Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister and statesman philosophers in the Indian government. I was inspired during my youth by the great spiritual heritage of India.”  As such, he has focused his career on spreading Indian culture globally and across America.

Nina Davuluri

Activist, First Indian American Miss America and Actor

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Nina Davuluri is the first Indian American and South Asian to be named Miss America. In doing so, she broke new ground in America demonstrating the growing presence of Indians and Indian Americans in culture. With her wide international recognition, she become an active advocate and speaker on topics such as diversity, gender equality and the promotion of STEM education, speaking in both political and diplomatic venues. She participated in the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit Youth and Women Day in Nairobi and traveled across Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Vijayawada to discuss women’s education in India. Today, Nina travels around the world to address global audiences on issues of diversity and representation via her platform: “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency.” In addition to her activism, she is also a filmmaker, actor & entrepreneur.  She has become a global leader in redefining beauty standards, and spearheaded a campaign against colorism, #SeeMyComplexion.  Most recently she was invited by the CEO of L’Oréal to join the L’Oréal Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, which she currently serves on. 

Nina is also a prolific Indian classical dancer who drew on her background in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam to bring Indian popular dance and music to the Miss America competition in 2014 – the first time Indian music and dance appeared on the Miss America stage.  Nina was born in the United States and is proud of her Telugu family and heritage.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta is one of the most recognized “doctors” in America as a practicing neurosurgeon, chief medical correspondent for CNN – one of the most prominent news networks in the United States – and a best-selling author.  In his role at CNN Dr. Gupta leads global reporting on health and medical news for all of CNN’s shows domestically and internationally and has covered some of the most important health stories in the United States and around the world. Most recently, Dr. Gupta has been on the forefront of reporting about the Coronavirus pandemic, covering the crisis for American and global viewers.  He has won multiple Emmy-awards which recognize excellence in U.S. television.  His books “Keeping Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age” and “World War C:  Lessons From the Covid 19 Pandemic” are best sellers.  In addition to his work as a practicing neurosurgeon and as a correspondent for CNN, Dr. Gupta is an associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. In 2019, Dr. Gupta was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the U.S. medical field.

Dr. Gupta was born in Novi, Michigan to parents who moved to the U.S. from India in the 1960s.  He is actively involved as an Indian American following in the footsteps of his parents and often cites their hard work and determination as his inspiration for ultimately pursuing medicine. 

Zakir Hussain

Tabla Virtuoso, Composer and Music Ambassador