Washington DC: Indian mangoes that have made a reappearance in the US after several years are a symbol of friendship and a reflection of the strength, robustness and maturity in the bilateral partnership, India’s top envoy here has said, as he engaged the capital’s influential community with mango diplomacy.
Noting that the fruit has been grown in India for over 5000 years and the country produces more than 40 per cent of the world’s total mangoes, India’s ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said it reflected the close ties between the world’s oldest and the largest democracies.
“Mangoes are a symbol of friendship. We celebrate the strong bonds of friendship between India and the United States,” Sandhu told a group of influential Washingtonians at a reception here on Thursday at India House wherein he treated them with mango delicacies ranging from Mango Lassi to the freshly cut mangoes.
The reception, among others, was attended by officials from the US Trade Representative; the US Department of Agriculture and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and the US Department of Commerce without whose efforts, the ambassador said, “Indian mangoes would not have been here today”.
“Today we celebrate the hard work put in by both sides to further strengthen the economic and commercial partnership, as well as, the people-to-people linkages,” Sandhu said.
At the last India-US Trade Policy Forum Ministerial held in India late last year, both the countries agreed to resolve decades-old market access issues.
During the meeting it was agreed to give market access to the Indian mangoes and pomegranates in the US and, similarly, New Delhi agreed to give allow cherries, alfalfa hay and pork from the US.
Both sides have been working on it since then.
“This is a reflection of the strength, robustness and maturity in the India-US partnership. As friends, we are able to sit across, discuss and resolve challenges that come our way. It shows the huge potential that exists in our partnership,” Sandhu said.
Last year, India-US bilateral trade hit USD 160 billion.
“Mangoes and mango leaves symbolise prosperity and good fortune. They are considered auspicious. I hope that India-US relations move to greater heights in the months and years ahead, and bring riches to the people of India and the US, and the world at large,” Sandhu said.
Christopher Wilson, Assistant US Trade Representative South and Central Asia, said it was wonderful to see tangible results of the work that they have been doing together on this important issue for India and the US.
“We are confident that Indian mangoes will find a substantial appetite in the States,” he said.
“There’s a lot going on in the trade relationship between the US and India. The Ambassador mentioned a successful relaunch of our trade policy forum at the end of last year and now we’re making good progress, I think, in terms of carrying that momentum forward through the active work of a number of our working groups under the TPF,” Wilson said.
Congressman Jerry McNerney also spoke on the occasion.