USINPAC congratulates Dr. Manoj H.Shah who will take over as president of leading advocacy organization for physicians in Georgia

Dr. Manoj H. Shah of Warner Robins, Ga., was sworn in last October as president-elect of the Medical Association of Georgia, the leading advocacy organization for physicians in Georgia.

He will take over as president for a one-year term in October 2014, succeeding Dr. William E. Silver.

Dr Manoj S ShahMAG was founded in 1849 and Shah will become the first Indian American president in the organization’s history, he told one Indian American publication recently.

Shah has been active with MAG’s international medical graduate section since it was formed in 2003. He also served in leadership posts with the Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.

The Indian American physician was trained in medicine in Baroda and completed his U.S. residency at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich.

Board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, Shah has published articles in the Medical Digest and other medical journals and has lived in Warner Robins since 1985.

He and his wife have three children who were education in the Houston County school system. Shah is also active with Friends of the Library and the Houston Volunteer Clinic.


Source: Indiawest

Meandering Ambiguity in Relations: Diplomacy and the Nations

Recently, India welcomed the move of a U.S. court when it dropped the indictment charge against former Indian diplomat to the U.S. Ms. Devyani Khobragade. However, what was most appalling was that she was re-indicted for the same charges two days later. The latest ruling of the court continues to strain the diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Khobragade was arrested last December on grounds of visa fraud; she was accused of over-reporting the amount of money that she paid her housekeeper. She was handcuffed outside her children’s school only to be arrested and detained in jail for a couple of hours. Despite maintaining her innocence, she was subjected to humiliation that the Indian government termed as ‘despicable and barbaric’; on the other hand, the U.S. held on to their version that they were only following standard routine procedure. Following the arrest, it spiraled into a completely political and diplomatic standoffish yet heated imbroglio between the two nations.

devyani_khobragade--621x414With the dismissal of the case, it is absolutely clear that no further arrest warrants would be made against Khobragade in future based on the same indictment. USINPAC has been at the forefront of this case since the very beginning. It had started from making enquiries about the arrest procedures to investigating the issue through members of Congress, and her immediate return to India. Mr. Sanjay Puri, Chairman of USINPAC has time and again pointed it out that an escalation between the U.S. and India would disrupt their process of working towards common goals and initiating dialogues in a troubled region; and ‘that failure in diplomatic protocol can cause irreversible damage to US-India relations’.

Mr. Sanjay Puri has expressed displeasure saying, “Relationships between the oldest and largest democracy are built on a people-to-people relationship and not just strategic interests.  The United States is slowly losing the hearts and minds of the people of India through a series of avoidable incidents over the past year, including the clumsy manner of dealing with Mr. Narendra Modi, the Devyani episode, and most recently also the Wikileaks and Snowden revelations.” He also said, “Any next steps are crucial to ensuring that US relations are not damaged any further by this incident, especially in advance of Indian elections next month. USINPAC believes the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office and the State Department should not pursue this case any further since it gives the appearance of a personal vendetta and we intend to ask members of Congress to hold a hearing as soon as possible.”

USINPAC as a bipartisan organization has been the voice of Indian Americans for over a decade now. By doing so, it has influenced policies that concern the community and this is yet another instance where they have left an indelible mark in impacting the framework to ensure that justice prevails at the end.

Indian democracy starts convulsing: AAP represents only symptoms of a change already taking place

-A Guest Blog by Dr. Jagdeep Chhokar

The first title that I thought of for this piece was “Indian democracy convulses”. It soon occurred to me that the title could be interpreted to mean that Indian democracy has convulsed and it did not necessarily convey the continuity of convulsion. In any case Indian democracy is too big and too complex to convulse or to have convulsed in a short span of time. Thus came the current title.
The process of convulsions has come to the surface now but it possibly started taking roots about 10-15 years ago when PILs started being filed about the electoral system. It gathered pace about five years ago, in the form of anti-corruption agitations, got sharpened as a result of the ghastly gang rape in Delhi in December 2012, and seems to have come to the surface with the stunning debut of the Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi Assembly elections in December 2013.

Jagdeep ChhokarMost analysts and commentators, both in the print as well as electronic media, seem to have been dazzled by the results of the Delhi elections that they seem to notice only the day to day actions and utterances of the new government in Delhi. Judgments are passed about the long-term success or failure of Aam Aadmi Party on the basis of daily events such as the Rail Bhavan Dharna, the Khirki raids.

All these learned members of the commentariat would do well to visit the website of the AAP. There is a link that provides a straight answer to the question “Why are we entering politics” and it says, “Our aim in entering politics is not to come to power; we have entered politics to change the current corrupt and self-serving system of politics forever”

Taking the above statement on its face value and without necessarily approving or supporting AAP, it should be clear that changing a “system of politics forever” is not a short-term activity. It can only be, at best, a long and arduous process, and more so when the political system is as ingrained as ours has become, particularly over the last 30 odd years.

It also needs to be noted that the AAP or Arvind Kejriwal and his colleagues are not the only actors or participants in this process, though they are arguably the triggers of this process. Other important, and critical, actors are all the established political parties, the intelligentsia, the corporate world, the media, and other such institutions of Indian society. Possibly the most critical actors are the citizens because such deep seated social transformations do not, and cannot, happen without the approval and active participation of the citizenry at large.

If the commentariat looks ahead, all it can see is the 2014 election. Yes, the Lok Sabha election will be a defining one, as all Lok Sabha elections have been and should be but in the evolution of Indian democracy these elections might well be just one of the many stages. Indian democracy appears to be on the threshold of a major transformation for which convulsions have just begun. What these convulsions will or might lead to, only time will tell, and that time frame is not 2, 3, or 5 years. IF this effort is to succeed, it will take something like 10 to 15 years though it can fail any time.

We, as citizens, cannot and should not rest only by wishing for the best. It is high time citizens took our citizenship seriously and did our duty to democracy as enunciated by Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965), a judge of the US Supreme Court:

“Democracy involves hardship – the hardship of the unceasing responsibility of every citizen. Where the entire people do not take a continuous and considered part in public life, there can be no democracy in any meaningful sense of the term. Democracy is always a beckoning goal, not a safe harbor. For freedom is an unremitting endeavor, never a final achievement. That is why no office in the land is more important than that of being a citizen.”

Jagdeep S. Chhokar is former professor, dean and director in-charge of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Source: India Today

Taking Strides towards a strategic bilateral alliance between US and India

Nisha Biswal’s emergence on the political scenario has provided the much needed fillip to the Indian- American political dream. Her nomination as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, which was personally recommended by President Barack Obama, brought cheers to the overall Indian- American community.

front-_IAL8236Ms Biswal is part of the Indian American community. Having roots to India, she is in a good position to understand the perception about USA in India and among Indian Americans. Indian Ameircans expect her to take a positive stand towards deepening Indo- US ties and her visit to India recently is considered a step in that direction. It is good to note that Assistant Secretary Biswal is reaching out to India Americans, taking their views and is willing to work closely to strengthen US-India relationship. USINPAC has supported these efforts in past and will always extend further support.

Earlier this year, as she arrived in Bangalore, Ms Biswal announced that the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) will provide $2.7 million for increasing clean energy access to India. Supporting this she opined that, “I am pleased to be here to highlight this latest addition to the constellation of amazing cooperative opportunities between the United States and India to expand access to clean energy.” During her stay, Ms Biswal also met High Indian officials in order to discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral and regional issues, including shared defense, security and economic engagement across Indo- Pacific corridor.

Her visit, which Washington had expected would to some extent mend frayed ties with India, came at a time when the Indo-US relationship has suffered setbacks, including on issues of trade and the Khobragade stand-off. It’s the time of engagement where ideas need to be transcribed and translated and Ms Biswal believes establishing bilateral strategic partnership would go a long way in stabilizing the bond between the two nations.

After completing her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, Ms Biswal also worked at InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international humanitarian and development nongovernmental organizations, where she was the Director of Public Policy; and at the American Red Cross, where she served as an international delegate in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. But it was at U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where her political career flourished. It was at USAID wherein she got the opportunity to work at the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Office of Transition Initiatives, and served as chief of staff in the Management bureau besides working with the USAID Administrator. But what brought her to the political limelight was her tenure as the majority clerk for the House Appropriations Committee Foreign Operations Subcommittee (HACFO) and as professional staff in the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), where she was responsible for South Asia.