Former envoy cites Amritsar roots, ignores ‘outsider tag’



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, March 24th

Taranjit Singh Sandhu, a former Indian ambassador to the US and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s leading candidate for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, said on Sunday that his campaign would unleash the export potential of the historic city and encourage young people to leave their homes. He said the focus is on increasing local income to prevent people from leaving and heading abroad.

“People are looking at the global economic revival through India and this is supported by the IMF and World Bank projections. It is not an opportunity for Amritsar and Punjab to miss,” Sandhu said in an exclusive interview. told the Tribune.

A career diplomat who retired after 35 years has shaken off the “outsider tag” attached to him by his political opponents.

“I don’t know what it means to be an outsider,” he says, recalling his roots in Amritsar and Harmandir Sahib, where he remembers his grandfather Teja Singh Samundari, who left the British Army and led the Morcha. He cited the fact that there are buildings that do. Liberate the Gurudwara.

“I only went out to serve. Soldiers also go out and come back. The real issue that everyone should talk about is the development of Amritsar,” said the former diplomat, principal of Khalsa College in Amritsar. He spoke while remembering his father, Bishan Singh Samundari, who served as the first vice-chancellor of GNDU, and his mother, who received a Ph.D. He returned from the US and became the principal of Government Women’s College in Amritsar.

Sandhu, 61, who followed his former colleagues and current ministers S. Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri into politics, credits them with motivating him to “serve Amritsar”. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The Prime Minister is very far-sighted, as I have seen having spent 10 years both in the US and Sri Lanka. It has inspired me to think ahead and definitely the Prime Minister has inspired me to develop Amritsar. It gave me a source of inspiration to focus on,” he revealed.

Sandhu termed the tendency of Punjabi youth to pursue dreams abroad as a “short-sighted approach” and warned against going to the US for jobs for which they are overqualified.

“The reality is that politics in the US is changing. Those who went illegally will be brought back. So Amritsar, which already has universities, medical institutes of technology and IIMs, is paying less of the fees young people are paying to go abroad. We need to be able to provide education at a fifth, if not a tenth, cost,” Sandhu said.

His LS poll campaign emphasizes on connecting Amritsar by air to the US, UAE, Dubai and other markets and exporting its vegetables, fruits, heritage and products such as Amritsar juttis, papads, vadis and phulkaris. are doing.

“All these products are easily available from Amritsar. We already have international airports and underutilized cargo facilities with connectivity to the UAE, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. In Dubai and Amritsar, The price difference for vegetables alone is 10 times greater. Greater connectivity will increase incomes and also address drug abuse,” Sandhu reasoned.

The former ambassador also revealed that US anti-drug officials were keen to assist Punjab.

“Rahul Gupta, also known as the drug lord in the White House, is excited to help Punjab. I can bring these connections to the table,” Sandhu said of winning in Amritsar. He spoke with the issue in mind.

“I appeal to all political parties to go beyond politics and focus on the development of Amritsar, which was highly educated at the time of independence. All the early directors of PGI Chandigarh were from Amritsar Medical College. We are far behind. Let’s work together to finish the pending work,” he called on other parties.

On the pre-poll LS alliance issue of the BJP-SAD, it was enough for Sandhu to say: I cannot comment further. ”

focus on growth

I don’t know what outsider means…I just went out to serve. Soldiers also go to war and return. The real issue that everyone should be talking about is the growth of Amritsar. — Taranjit Singh Sandhu, former Ambassador to the United States

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