PM Modi’s ongoing visit to the US has generated a lot of enthusiasm both within India and the US. While the “Howdy Modi” event emerged as the centre of attraction of his visit, there are several other crucial engagements in PM Modi’s packed schedule. Apart from the “Howdy Modi” event, attended by President Donald Trump and PM Modi, that has turned out to be immensely successful, PM Modi is scheduled to meet 61 top executives representing of some of the biggest corporate groups in the US by the end of his visit. He has already met 16 such top executives, mostly consisting of those representing energy giants, including ExxonMobil, Perot Group, Baker Hughes, BP, Cheniere Energy and Dominion Energy, among others, in Houston. PM Modi would now meet top executives of 45 US companies on September 25. In fact, PM Modi will hold a round table with the 45 top executives, representing some of the biggest corporate giants across the world, including Microsoft, Google, Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Mastercard, Visa, Amway, JP Morgan, Bank of America and Walmart.
Multilateral events are also lined up during PM Modi’s US visit. PM Modi will attend the UN General Assembly and will also have bilateral meetings with 20 other leaders. PM Modi would also meet President Trump for a second time. He would also attend the Climate Summit which would be organised by UN Secretary General Antonio Guetteres. Apart from this, there will be a leadership summit on strategic responses to terror and violent extremist narratives. It is clear that PM Modi’s visit is tightly packed with a number of crucial meetings in key areas. The man who ought to be credited for organising and planning the Prime Minister’s visit in an adroit manner is Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s ambassador to the US.
The “Howdy Modi” event which has been defined by many as the highlight of PM Modi’s visit was attended by some 60,000 people, making the event the largest ever gathering of Indian-American and Indian communities in the US. Thought the event was organised by Texas India Forum (TIF), it worked in close coordination with the Indian Embassy in Washington that is headed by Shringla and the Indian consulate in Houston.
Shringla, a career diplomat, who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1984 was the youngest in his batch, and is regarded highly by his colleagues, seniors and juniors who describe him as “no nonsense” and “sharp.” And his efficient handling of a crucial trip indeed showcases his organisational skills and his committed approach. A person familiar with the events in the US, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “Pulling together these events and ensuring their success is the work of the Indian ambassador.” He added, “Of course, there would have been broad directions from the prime minister’s office and the foreign minister’s office, but putting together the programme and ensuring their success is the work of the ambassador.”
A look at Shringla’s resume reveals his rich experience which might have helped him in planning PM Modi’s tightly packed visit in such an impressive manner. He worked for corporates and state-run firms after graduating from St. Stephen’s College of the Delhi University and before joining the Indian Foreign Services in 1984. He has pursued courses and published papers on economic diplomacy. He has served in key areas in the past throughout his diplomatic career. Shringla was India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh and during his tenure he oversaw the steadying and consolidation of Indo-Bangladesh relations. It was also during his tenure as the joint secretary Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar that India and Bangladesh signed the historic protocol to implement the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement between the two countries.
Apart from the above roles, he has also held key posts at multilateral forums. Shringla has held posts in UNESCO and to India’s mission to the UN. Now, by successfully planning and organising PM Modi’s key visit to the US which involves several crucial engagements including meetings with the US President Trump, a massive engagement with the Indian diaspora and meeting with the top executives representing some of the biggest corporate houses of the US, Shringla has clearly proved his amazing ability as a career diplomat adding up to a rich career full of glorious achievements that he has behind him.