The Indian Journalists’ Association (UK) hosted its first ever Summer Party on Friday 30 July at The Courthouse Hotel, Shoreditch. The reception that was attended by member journalists, MPs, Peers, London’s Deputy Mayor for Business, trade bodies, think-tanks, university and student body representatives, business, industry and community leaders had Ms Gaitri Issar Kumar, the High Commissioner of India to the UK as the Guest of Honour.
The evening started with a short speech by IJA President Rupanjana Dutta, where she spoke about the tireless work of journalists– the unsung heroes. She also paid a tribute to Danish Siddiqui, the Indian journalist who died recently at Kandahar, Afghanistan, mutilated by the Talibans.
The High Commissioner addressing the audience spoke about the on-going UK-India partnership, her recent visit to Wockhardt UK vaccine facility in Wrexham, north Wales and the upcoming COP 26 or the heath summit in India and a healthcare conference in Birmingham, UK. She said, “It is a perfect example of the potential of India-UK cooperation in being part of the solutions in today's world, whether it is creating jobs over here, whether it is bringing in a key manufacturing facility here. And what we do for popular mutual benefit, bringing vaccines and very critical care pharmaceuticals to the rest of the world.
“In Scotland and Wales, similarly, I found the Indian community, the business community with lots of enthusiasm for being part of the India-UK story. There are challenges, there are potential irritants, there are issues that both of us need to address and resolve together…We have a very, very strong commitment to working together on these challenges.
“COP26 in November is going to be the big thing on the India-UK horizon, whether it is saying no to plastics, whether it's the fact that you already have a low carbon footprint, whether it is the international solar alliance, which is a personal initiative of our Prime Minister, or whether it is a coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure- another personal initiative of our Prime Minister. The fact that we have organisations, institutions that are working with developing countries to bring the technology that we've developed for renewables and affordable, adaptable, innovative technology for clean energy- India has a lot to show for ourselves.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel sent a message to the IJA, which was read out by the organisation Secretary Rithika Siddhartha. Ms Patel said, “I want to pay tribute to the IJA for your work which has had an immensely powerful role to play in informing and inspiring the Indian Diaspora.
“The last year has been an incredibly difficult one for both the UK and India. The challenges of the global pandemic have enhanced the profound sense of shared values and an enduring connection between our people. I was very moved by the way the British people and our blooming diaspora community rallied to support the people of India during some the darkest days of the pandemic.
“That enduring connection is shared by the UK Government. We were also determined to be there and support India during this time of need, providing life-saving oxygen and medical equipment. As we look to a brighter and better future, there are many positives from this year for both our countries to build upon.
“Our Prime Ministers have a clear vision as set out in the ‘2030 roadmap’ that marks the beginning of a new era in the UK-India relationship, increasing cooperation on healthcare, climate, trade, education, science and technology, and defence.
“Our new Mobility and Migration Partnership with India which will provide opportunities for thousands of young people in the UK and India seeking to live and work in the other country.
“These economic and cultural exchanges will benefit all of us. As a British-Indian, I am excited for young British people who will be introduced to wonderful things that have always been part of my life.
“And I am delighted that we will welcome more young Indian people to the United Kingdom, where they too will thrive from new experiences.
“This is a buoyant time in UK-Indian relations, and I know that members of the IJA will be at the forefront of reporting on historic and ground-breaking achievements between the UK and Indian Government; and between the peoples and businesses of our two great countries.
“Both our countries share so much in common, and, on behalf of the British Government, I wish you a wonderful party and I look forward to continuing to work with all you as our country-to-country ties grow even stronger.”
A sitar recital was presented by Avi Sengupta along with Milind Naik on tabla to conclude the formal event.
Photo credit: Gopi Nath, G Grafix