Washington: Top US officials bid farewell to outgoing Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu. The event was hosted by the US-India Business Council (USIC) in Washington on Wednesday.

US President Joe Biden's top national security aide, Kurt Campbell voiced appreciation for the efforts and initiatives undertaken by Ambassador Sandhu during this tenure, particularly his contribution towards enhancing the India-US relations.

"I just have a few comments I'd like to make if I could. Very rarely does an Ambassador get to make such a mark on a bilateral relationship. And we've all had the benefit of working with the magic that is Ambassador Sandhu, and it's difficult to put your finger on all the things that make him so successful," Campbell said

"First, and perhaps most importantly, his sense of vision. At the very first meeting I had with him, he articulated a view of where he thought US-India relations should go. He recognized the bureaucratic impediments in both of our systems and thought it was important that we drive through them, be relentless and determined, and do it in good cheer. And I was struck by his determination to move in a very forward direction," he said, as he heaped praises for Sandhu at the reception and farewell toast which was organised in honour of Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu on Wednesday.

"Second, he was always thinking about what are the ways to get around problems. How can we advance certain goals if we run into certain difficulties? He had a way of conspiring to bring you into discussions in a way that was incredibly empowering and I think, quite effective," Campbell went on to say.

Campbell, as he spoke at length about Sandhu's stint as India's envoy to the United States, underlined how Sandhu was a hard-charging, passionate person who wanted what was best for both of our countries.

He said, "A lot of times when you deal with diplomats, there's a plastic quality. You're not exactly sure what you're engaging with. That is not the case with Ambassador Sandu. He was a deeply human being, and you could sense when he was frustrated, when he was excited, when he was hopeful, and he let you know that he was a hard-charging, passionate person who wanted what was best for both of our countries."

"And just the last two things I would say he not only loved the United States, but he loved the USA relationship. He believed, and he helped inspire others to believe that this was the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century," he noted.

Separately, at the same event, American diplomat Atul Keshap of the United States-India Business Council (USIBC) called Sandhu a "star" and stated that he would be dearly missed.

In his address at the event, Keshap said, "This is a very sweet occasion...I want to thank all, the US government, and the friends who are here today to bid a fun farewell to Ambassador Sandhu. We really want to ensure to send off Ambassador Sandhu in style and we want to celebrate in the grandest way possible."

"You truly are a star and you will be greatly missed," he said pointing to Sandhu.

"In addition to being a skilled diplomat, you have been a dreamer who has achieved truly great things for the US-India relationship," Keshap added, as he spoke further.

Ambassador Sandhu bid farewell with a sense of accomplishment as the top Indian diplomat's tenure has been marked by his dedicated efforts to boost bilateral ties between India and the US.

Sandhu, meanwhile also received a virtual farewell reception following that event by leading physicians from across the United States.

Thanking them for the same, Sandhu wrote on X, "A pleasure to join the virtual farewell reception organized by leading physicians from across the United States. Complimented them for their invaluable contributions, including in enhancing the healthcare partnership."

Sandhu assumed charge as the Indian Ambassador to the United States in February 2020.

Sandhu's most immediate task after being appointed was then-President Donald Trump's India visit, followed by keeping up the momentum in bilateral ties.

Born on January 23, 1963, in a family of educationists, Sandhu studied at The Lawrence School, Sanawar and graduated with History Honors from St. Stephens' College, Delhi. He pursued a Master's Degree in International Relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

He is one of the most experienced Indian diplomats on US affairs, having served in the Indian Mission in Washington DC twice earlier. He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India in Washington DC from July 2013 to January 2017. Earlier, he was the First Secretary (Political) at the Embassy of India, Washington DC, responsible for liaison with the United States Congress from 1997 to 2000. He has also been at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, New York, from July 2005 to February 2009.

He came to Washington from Sri Lanka where he had a remarkably successful tenure as the High Commissioner from January 2017 to January 2020. Sandhu was the Consul General of India in Frankfurt from September 2011 to July 2013.

Besides this, he has worked in the Ministry of External Affairs in various capacities - as Joint Secretary (United Nations) from March 2009 to August 2011; and later as Joint Secretary (Administration) heading the Human Resource Division. He was an Officer on Special Duty (Press Relations), the Ministry of External Affairs, from December 1995 to March 1997, and was responsible for liaison with foreign media in India.

In a distinguished career spanning over 30 years in the Indian Foreign Service since 1988, Ambassador Sandhu started his diplomatic career from the former Soviet Union (Russia) where he worked as Third Secretary (Political)/Second Secretary (Commercial) in the Indian Mission from 1990 to 1992.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, he was sent to open a new Embassy in Ukraine. He served as Head of Political and Administration Wings in the Indian Embassy in Kyiv from 1992 to 1994.