CHICAGO, IL — Navtej Sarna, Indian Ambassador to United States visited Chicago, Illinois on a two-day official visit that began on April 5, long after his predecessor Arun Singh last came to the Windy city in August, 2015.
Sarna, 59, had useful interactions with Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel and President and Director of Art Institute of Chicago James Rondeau. He also talked to business leaders, entrepreneurs and prominent Indian-American community members.
On April 6, the Ambassador and the Governor discussed the growing partnership between India and Illinois and acknowledged that there was immense potential for further growth.
A large number of Indian companies are functioning in Illinois. The Government of India is developing over 100 smart cities spread all over India and the initiative offers huge investment opportunities for Illinois companies.
Rauner congratulated Sarna for celebrating the 70th anniversary of India’s independence this year and added that that in 2018, the state of Illinois will also be celebrating its 200th birth anniversary and he looks forward for the participation of the Consulate General of India in the events to be held then.
The Ambassador also met with Mayor Emanuel who said that he considers India as a close friend and described the Indian American community in Chicago as very dynamic and vibrant.
On issues related to infrastructure development and energy, Sarna said there is great collaboration for renewable energy with prominent US companies and by 2025 “we are hopeful to achieve the targets set by the Government.”
In his meeting with Rondeau, the Ambassador was briefed about the activities of the Art Institute, the Vivekanand Memorial Program for Museum Excellence which was established by the Government of India and the Art Institute in 2012 and the historic connection of the Art Institute of Chicago with India.
After all, it was here that the World Parliament of Religions took place in 1893 and Swami Vivekananda presented the "Sisters and Brothers of America" speech.
On April 5, the Punjabi Community of US Midwest hosted a lunch for the Ambassador followed by a dinner-cum-reception hosted by the Consul General in the evening. A large number of eminent business leaders, entrepreneurs, prominent members of Indian-American community and associations based in US Midwest interacted with the Ambassador.
The Economic Club of Chicago also hosted a luncheon for the Ambassador on April 6. The CEOs of several prominent companies, including some fortune 500 companies based in Chicago, attended the luncheon. Sarna addressed the CEOs attending the luncheon and spoke about flagship initiatives of the Government of India and business-friendly policies and environment currently prevailing in India.
Prior to assuming office in January, Sarna was High Commissioner to the United Kingdom for a year.
The Ambassador, who has previously served as a diplomat in Moscow, Warsaw, Thimphu, Geneva, Teheran and Washington, DC, also writes short stories and book reviews.