Thursday, September 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

US Diary
Dr Ranawat and PM’s knee problem
Hari Jaisingh

NEW YORK, Sept 13 — From New York the Prime Minister’s party moves to Washington where he is a state guest. And this means quite a few ceremonial gestures like a 19-gun salute and the military honour cordon to the motorcade, etc.

Among his important engagements in Washington are the address to the joint session of the US Congress, a meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and representatives of academic institutions (think tanks) and talks with President Clinton.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Mr Vajpayee’s visit is a major turning point in growing Indo-American relations.

“There is an increasing realisation in the USA today about the importance of India as a new economic power. The signals are sharp and clear. But the problem with India’s policies is that they are not well focussed. There is something seriously wrong with the way bilateral problems are handled. Your policy makers must learn to speak in the language the Americans understand”, an old hand on Indo-American affairs told me.

He is right. In the first place, there is a lot of confused thinking in certain critical areas. Second, the absence of clear targets and objectives apart, the will to excel is somehow missing.

Still, it must be said that the contribution of Mr Naresh Chandra, our Ambassador, in building Indo-US ties has been solid. This has been confirmed by a number of India watchers here during my personal interaction with them.


Now that the Prime Minister’s most crucial phase of the US visit has begun, it may be worthwhile to reproduce certain passages from the Vision Statement issued by Mr Clinton and Mr Vajpayee at the end of the visit by the US President to India from March 21 to 25.

“We are two of the world’s largest democracies. We are nations forged from many traditions and faiths, proving year after year that diversity is our strength.

“There have been times in the past when our relationship drifted with a steady course. As we now look towards the future, we are convinced that it is time to chart a new and purposeful direction in our relationship.

“In the new century, India and the United States will be partners in peace, with a common interest in and complementary responsibility for ensuring regional and international security...

“We will bolster joint efforts to counter terrorism and meet other challenges to regional peace...

“India and the United States share a commitments to reducing and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons, but we have not always agreed on how to reach this common goal. The United States believes that India should forego nuclear weapons. India believes that it needs to maintain a credible minimum nuclear deterrent in keeping with its own assessment of its security needs.

“The true measure of our strength lies in the ability of our people to shape their destiny and to realise their aspirations for a better life. That is why the USA and India are and will be allies in the name of democracy...

“Today, we pledge to deepen the Indian-American partnership in tangible ways, always seeking to reconcile our differences through dialogue and engagement, always seizing opportunities to advance the countless interests we have in common.

“For India and the United States, this is a day of new beginnings. We have before us for the first time in 50 years the possibility to realise the full potential of our relationship”.

In fact, more than anything, else the presence of Indian professionals here is making all the difference in providing a qualitative thrust to Indo-American relations.


Among the numerous success stories of Indian professionals here, the name of Dr Chitranjan S. Ranawat, who will perform the knee replacement surgery for the Prime Minister’s left knee, stands out. A world renowned orthopaedic surgeon, he is the Director of the Orthopeadic Surgery and Centre for Total Joint Replacement in New York.

Dr Ranawat reportedly uses a cemented total knee replacement which “has proven to be the Kewlest Kind”. In a cemented total knee the components are fixed with a bone cement called methy-methacrylate.

Dr Ranawat uses the PFC Modular Kneww system he has developed after years of research with thousands of cases.


Our readers may be interested in the following information pieces provided by the Consulate-General of India in New York for the benefit of media personnel accompanying the Prime Minister.

(i) Ten per cent of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in New York, more than any other US city. As many as 2,500 foreign-owned companies have offices here and they account for four million jobs.

(ii) Among the major employer sectors are services, wholesale/ retail, finance/industrial/real estate, manufacturing and utilities. Services also include educational institutions, healthcare, cultural institutions, hotel, business services, etc.

(iii) Media is also a major industry. Among the major conglomerates are Aol, Time Warner, Walt Disney, ABC.

(iv) The mighty Wall Street is located in Manhattan and the mainstay is the Fire sector, meaning Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.

(v) New York city’s top 10 commercial banks have reportedly listed earnings of about $10 billion and hold assets of more than $1 trillion. Among the top banks are Chase Manhattan, Citicorp, J.P. Morgan & Co., Bankers Trust, Bank of New York and Republic New York.

(vi) One of the city’s most lucrative industries is securities and commodity trading.

(vii) More than 80 per cent of trading in securities is done here and the three major stock exchanges are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange.

(viii) The NYSE is the world’s largest equity market. There are more than 3,000 companies listed here, including four Indian companies — ICICI, ICICI Bank, Silverline Technologies and VSNL.

(ix) Some 4,000 securities firms operate here. The leading investment firms are Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Solman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Solomon Brothers, CS First Boston, JP Morgan, Bear Steams, Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and Smith Barney, with total proceeds of $ 600 billion and a market share of more than 80 per cent.

(x) The electronic “Nasdaq” stock market ranks second in the world’s securities market. The Indian IT companies listed here are Infosys, Satyam Infoways and

(xi) Among the top insurance companies here are MetLife, Guardian, American International Group, Equitable and Reliance Group Holdings.


How safe is it to use a cell phone during a thunderstorm? According to Mr Richard Kithil, head of the National Lightning Safety Institute, there is “no way lightning can jump to the receiver and shock a person”.

So, if you follow normal lightning safety rules — staying indoors, and away from major appliances, or being in a vehicle with the windows rolled up — you are safe using a cell phone during a thunderstorm. This information is published in “USA Today” (Sept 12, 2000).


Sikh delegation meets PM
Tribune News Service

NEW YORK, Sept 13 — It was “a healing touch” of sorts when a 27-member delegation of Sikh organisations and gurdwaras met Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in his suite at Hotel Waldorf Astoria here last evening and greeted him with “jaikaras” — “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal”.

Officially the event had been specially earmarked for the visual media. So TV cameras and photographers made the most of the occasion. Apparently, the Prime Minister’s media advisors merely projected it as a quick-fix image-building exercise.

There was no serious dialogue or discussion on problems the Sikhs often complain about. They are sore about the response system of the embassy staff and other operational matters.

Perhaps today’s meeting was not meant to be a serious affair. It was a casual PR exercise. However, certain demands and grievances of the Sikh community were spelt out in a memorandum presented by Principal Bawa Niranjan Singh, President, Sikh Cultural Society, New York.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Harjap Singh Aujla, President, Gurdwara Bridge Water, greeted the Prime Minister and wished him a long and happy life. He stressed the need for better representation to the Sikh community in government establishments and sought proper handling of them by the embassy staff. A number of Sikh leaders I met here seem to be nursing the feeling of neglect and indifference towards them on the part of the Consulate General here.

The demands listed in the memorandum include dual citizenship, speedy handling of immigration and passport problems.

The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal of New York, Mr Kulbir Singh, welcomed the SAD-BJP alliance and sought the Prime Minister’s intervention for Akali unity, especially for bringing about a patch-up between Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Earlier, Mr Vajpayee was presented ‘saropas’ on behalf of Gurdwara Richmond Hill, Gurdwara Bridge Water, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Sikh Cultural Society and the American Sikhs associated with Yogi Harbhajan Singh. The American Sikh representatives offered scholarships to Sikh boys and girls for special studies in the USA.

The delegation which called on the Prime Minister included Mr Harjap Singh Aujla, Mr Preet Pal Singh, Vice President, Gurdwara Bridge Water, Mr Kulbir Singh, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, New York, Mr Satwant Singh Satta, Vice President, Akali Dal, New York, Mr Rajinder Singh Lali, General Secretary, SAD, New York, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Secretary, Gurdwara Richmond Hill, New York, Mr Sulakhan Singh, Cashier, Gurdwara Richmond Hall, New York, Principal Bawa Narinjan Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh, President, Indian Association of Central New Jersey Chatrath, Mr Jagjit Singh Lamba, former President, DSGPC and Trustee Gurdwara New Jersey, Mr Avtar Singh, Convenor Gurdwara Makhan Shah Lubhana, Queens, Mr Harbir Singh Jawanda, ex-President, Gurdwara New Jersey, Mr Sarabhit Singh, President, Gasoline Dealers Association, New Jersey, Mr Vishnu Singh, President, Sikh Dharma of Western Hemisphere, New York Chapter, Mr Kashmir Singh, Mr Parabhjot Singh, Convenor, Youth Akali Dal, New Jersey, Mr Harjit Singh Toni, Co-Convenor, Youth Akali Dal, New Jersey, Mr Kewal Singh, President, Coordination Committee of Sikh Gurdwaras, Mr Amrik Singh, Senior Vice-President, Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Surinder Singh Babu, President, Youth Akali Dal, New York, Mr Jagir Singh, Publicity Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sarabjit Singh Sawhney, Life Member, Gurdwara Committee, New York, Mrs Sat Kiran Kaur Khalsa, Representative to the UN from Sikh Dharma, Mr Pratap Singh Khalsa, Professor of Science and Research, University of New York, Mrs Sevak Kaur, Director, Yoga Centre, Brooklyn, Mrs Satjeevan Kaur Khalsa, representative of Yogi Harbhajan Singh and Mr Sat Jagat Singh, representative of Yogi Harbhajan Singh.

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