Taranjit Singh Sandhu
Taranjit Singh Sandhu

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Charge d’affaires at the Embassy of India in Washington, has issued a plea to the Indian-American public: Influence the U.S. government to put pressure on the government of Pakistan and the Pakistan Army to give up terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy.

Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the National Council of Asian Indian Associations, Sandhu delivered his comments Sunday night.

He took over as the Charge d’affaires following the retirement of Ambassador Arun K. Singh on August 31. During his speech, Sandhu made a connection between various terror strikes in India and terrorism against U.S. targets both within the country and in places like the Middle East and Afghanistan.

He pointed to the fact Pakistan has received $33 billion of U.S. tax payers’ money as direct aid since 2002, and told the largely Indian American audience: “All that I am imploring to you, as United States citizens, is to hold the people who get your money accountable — accountable for the sake of the US security, for the sake of world security and for the sake of the Pakistani people.”

He added that members of the Indian American community, using their elected officials as a vehicle, need to “use all the influence which the United States has — which is plenty — to put pressure” on Pakistan to give up terrorism and focus on fighting poverty, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stated.

“Our approach, as our prime minister has said, is very clear,” Sandhu said. “We will work with the international community to press Pakistan to give up terrorists as well as terrorism as an instrument [of foreign policy.]”

Sandhu’s tenure in D.C. is coming to an end — he has been appointed as the next high commissioner of India in Sri Lanka.

He also praised the contribution of the NCAIA in strengthening the US-India relations. “Your organization has played a very critical role in bringing together the Indian Americans in [the Washington, DC,-Maryland-Virginia] tri-state area and the much wider at the United States level in strengthening the India-US relationship,” he said.