WASHINTON: Indian-Americans, the US business and think tank communities have welcomed the appointment of career service diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu as India's new ambassador to the United States.
A 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service Official, Sandhu has had two successful stints at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC, the last one being as Deputy Ambassador from July 2013 to January 2017.
Sandhu, who is currently India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, is expected to take up the new assignment shortly.
"His appointment couldn't have come at a better and more crucial time, given that President Donald Trump is likely to visit India soon," Indiaspora founder and philanthropist M R Rangaswami told PTI.
The United States has made no official announcement about Trump's trip to India so far.
"Having served previous stints in DC and New York, Ambassador Sandhu is among the foremost US experts in the Indian diplomatic corps," Rangaswami said.
Sandhu has also served at the India's permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.
"Amid dynamic political and policy challenges and growing economic focus on India, Amb Sandhu will be an experienced leader for Indian Embassy in US to navigate both the opportunities and challenges in the bilateral relationship," said Nisha Desai Biswal, the former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.
She is currently president of US India Business Council.
"Congratulations to Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu on his appointment as the next Ambassador to the US. We look forward to a long and enduring partnership to take ties to greater heights," said US India Strategic and Partnership Forum.
Chicago-based eminent Indian-American Bharat Barai said Sandhu will represent India very well.
"He knows a lot about the community and we will have very good mutually rewarding working relationship," he said.
Barai had worked closely with Sandhu and the then Indian Ambassador S Jaishankar in organising the historic Madison Square Garden rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.
"As one of the lead organisers of the event, met him several times in DC and NY. We sat down together at his office and home on weekends to plan for what would be the biggest reception for a foreign dignitary on US soil!" he said recollecting the days of 2014 before the Madison Square Garden.
"A US hand," tweeted Tanvi Madan from the Brookings Institute think-tank.
In addition to being the Deputy Ambassador here, Sandhu was also served as First Secretary here during the crucial years of 1997-2000.
India has made a wonderful choice: Not only will the Indian embassy in US have a spectacular ambassador for India, he will be one of the stars of the DC diplomatic corps, said author Jonah Blank.
"Congratulations to Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu on his appointment as Ambassador of India to the United States," US India Business Council said, adding that it looks forward to continued collaboration to advance the US-India commercial and strategic partnership.
"Great to see Taranjit Singh Sandhu returning to Washington as the new Indian Ambassador to the United States. Amidst active US-India trade discussions, lots of work to do together to build and improve US-India commercial relations," said Ryan Ong, from the National Association of Manufacturers.
Members of the American Sikh community recollected how Sandhu helped them resolve their long-pending issues, including playing an important role in their delegation meeting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.
"This meeting started a process of resolving our all pending issues," said Sukhpal Singh Dhanoa, a community activist who has been present in all the meetings that the Sikh community has had so far with the prime minister in the US.
Dhanoa said the Indian-American community here was planning a reception in honour of the new ambassador next month.
Sandhu is expected to take up his new assignment shortly.
He would replace Harsh Vardhan Shringla who is now India's new Foreign Secretary.
"Looking forward to working with Amb Taranjit Singh Sandhu in taking forward our Strategic Partnership with the United States of America," tweeted India's Deputy Ambassador to the US Amit Kumar.
"Congratulations and Welcome our Ambassador of India to the United States of America. Hon. Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu to USA," said Indian-American Bhailal Patel.