Chartered accountants, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, CEOs and chairmen from various organizations came together to bid farewell to the outgoing Consul General in San Francisco Dr. TV Nagendra Prasad who has been appointed to serve as the next Ambassador to Kazakhstan.
The memorable event held July 24 at Amber in Los Altos, California was hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, San Francisco chapter in collaboration with the TiE Silicon Valley, IIT Startups, American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association(ATEA), and CAStartups.
Vish Arunachalam, founder, chairman, and director of ICAI, San Francisco chapter on hosting a collaborative farewell told indica, “He (Dr Nagendra Prasad) is somebody who deserves the appreciation of making a huge difference of uniting the community and diaspora.”
He added, “He has played an important role in such a strategic place — Silicon Valley, where we have some of the most valuable companies in the history of humanity, like Google, Apple, and so, in that ecosystem he is acting as a catalyst.”
He said the consul general has been instrumental in introducing ICAI to other consulates in the US, and in enhancing ICAI offices in other parts of the country and corresponding mission.
On gifting him a booklet that carries over 26 messages from the community about the outgoing diplomat, Arunachalam said that diplomats travel to various countries and they need to carry the Silicon Valley memories, cherish them through their life.
Before taking over as Consul General of India at San Francisco, Dr. Prasad served at the Ministry of External Affairs as Joint Secretary heading the Gulf Division. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1993 and served in various positions at Indian Missions including Tehran, London, Thimphu, Berne, and Ashgabat. He was India’s Ambassador to Turkmenistan from July 2014 to January 2018.
In his address at the ICAI event, Dr.Prasad expressed his gratitude to ICAI, and said he himself was shocked when Arunachalam mentioned to him that together they have held 14 events in the past two years.
Lauding ICAI efforts Dr.Prasad said that every event they held had one goal of ‘strengthing the US-India partnership’.
Dr.Prasad echoed the same for the TiE SV for engaging with the Indian Consulate in San Francisco to help build the India-US partnership.
He also spoke about the startup ecosystem in India and how TiE has helped budding startups there. “We always say that after Stanford and Harvard, IIT startups are the third largest in the world especially with a large number of unicorns. There are so many innovative minds in IIT startups. Today we not only have 120 unicorns in India, but also the fastest-growing unicorns,” Dr.Prasad said.
Dr.Prasad then shifted focus to the members of the ATEA. While acknowledging that investments flow into India through the states, he said that Tamil Nadu is one of the leading states for industry, and IT in the nation. He thanked the association for helping entrepreneurs and the ecosystem at large in Tamil Nadu.
During his address, he also praised banks for their role in helping Indian Americans, especially the California branch of the State Bank of India. He also spoke about ICICI Bank and that he had played a role in encouraging the bank to explore options and urge them to set up a bank. The efforts paid off as ICICI Bank set up a branch in California recently.
Going down memory lane Dr.Prasad recounted his journey as an Indian Foreign Service officer and spoke about his stints in Tehran, Bhutan, London, Switzerland, Turkmenistan and San Francisco. “The culture is completely different in these places and sometimes we faced challenges but in every place we tried to do something that is dear to India.”
In his parting comments, Dr.Prasad had this advice for Indian Americans: “Keep working for India’s growth story. There are several ways you can be part of India’s economic growth — charity, business, and tech collaborations.”
He also urged the Indian Americans of San Francisco to send their “children to India to learn about their roots and about the Indian cultural heritage. In 15-20 years from now, people will be migrating back to India. Children must know about their roots, their country”. He urged the community to “remain united to strengthen the India, US relationship”.
During the event, on a lighter mood Padmavathi Prasad, wife of the consul general, too shared her life as a spouse of a diplomat and how she engages with diplomat spouses and host yoga events.
Venky Vijayaragavan, ICAI San Francisco member, who moved to Paris, lately and was visiting San Francisco on learning about the consul general farewell event told indica, when Arunachalam mentioned he has to come, and he knows Dr. Prasad has always been a partner and supporter our ICAI SF Chapter and the larger Indian diaspora in the Bay Area.
“He has enthralled us with his insights and ideas on India Budget, India US connect, and many other topics on India. We wish him all the very best in his new assignment at Kazakhstan. Looking forward to having him back in the US,” Vijayaragavan said.
Raj Chahal, the Councilmember City of Santa Clara sharing his thoughts said, “Following World War II, President Eisenhower founded Sister Cities International to promote people-to-people diplomacy. Since Dr. Prasad joined as consul general, he has redefined what diplomacy means in this region and has espoused the ideals of people-to-people diplomacy which President Eisenhower envisioned.”
Chahal adding further said that in addition to being a top Indian diplomat, Dr.Prasad invigorated community diplomacy which allowed the everyday community member to be a part of the diplomatic conversation. He has been instrumental in connecting so many community organizations to build fruitful relations locally while pragmatically deepening the ever-important India – US relationship.