Chamber Celebrates 15th Gala with Awards to the Stars Among the Community


GAIL (India) Ltd, Carrizo Oil & Gas, Dominion Cove Point LNG and Cheniere Energy were honored for their pioneering efforts in securing India’s energy needs. President of GAIL (Global) USA, Jayanta Sinha seen here with Senator John Cornyn (center) and IACCGH President Sanjay Ramabhadaran (left) and Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia (right). Photos: Bijay Dixit





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HOUSTON: The Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston’s biggest event of the year, the Fifteenth Anniversary Gala, took place at the Hilton Americas on September 27. Local business leaders, professionals and several elected officials networked at the reception prior to the main event which seated over 600.


IACCGH President Sanjay Ramabhadran and Exec. Dir. Jagdip Ahluwalia with Cornyn

At the reception, Dr. John Mendelsohn, past President of the MD Anderson Cancer Center presented plaques of appreciation to the major sponsors of the evening followed by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia who greeted the gathering with a traditional Namaste. An energetic dhol player led the guests into the ballroom where Chloe Choudhury sang the US and Indian national anthems. Reporter Raashi Vats of Fox TV was the emcee.


Texas Senator John Cornyn drove in from Austin just to attend and address the Chamber Gala and then drove back again that night

Dubbed by Senator John Cornyn as “the glue” that holds the Chamber together, and by IACCGH President Sanjay Ramabhadran as the name that is “synonymous” with the Chamber, Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering. He reflected that the Chamber had created a strong relationship with local economic agencies over the past 15 years which “continues to this day.” Ahluwalia expressed his pride at the Chamber’s achievements in the energy and education sector as well as the “job creation that’s happening.”

Photo: Vanshika Vipin

The impeccable desert created just for the gala by Daawat Catering which served all the evening’s food. Photo: Vanshika Vipin

Ramabhadran profiled IACCGH’s mission over the years to “build bridges for business here in the Greater Houston region and with India”. He added that this was due to the zeal of its past Boards who helped propel the organization along the right path. IACCGH has set the stage for multiple trade delegations to India in the coming months. Previous trade missions have resulted in the opening of the Mahindra facility in Harris County and while Trade Missions may “take time to fruition” they reinforce the Chamber’s efforts to create local jobs. Ramabhadran remarked that the Chamber’s networking events reflect diversity of biz opportunities and people and if “properly tapped” will pay huge dividends.”

A congratulatory video message from India’s Consul General P. Harish in Houston and Mayor Annise Parker was played. The Senior US Senator from Texas, John Cornyn was the Keynote Speaker at the Gala. He warmly congratulated the Chamber for helping strengthen the critically important US India partnership. He noted that in the last two decades, organizations like the IACCGH have played an important role in deepening and strengthening cooperation between the two great democracies. Noting the successful Indian Mars mission, he saw opportunities for collaboration with NASA in Houston.

Cornyn believed that the ideological bond between the two nations would translate into a powerful partnership as natural allies on the world stage. Founded in 2004, the India Caucus is the only single country caucus and it reflects the great recognition of the strategic alliance that should exist between the two nations.

Cornyn noted that there are several priorities that the US needs to focus on – the primary one being federal approval for the export of LNG to India which he has pushed to accelerate this process as it will be good for the partnership mutual strategic interests of the two countries. He also touched on the growing threat of terrorism and stated that the US cannot afford to neglect India and the two countries need each other to tackle the threat of terrorism.

The Chief Guest of the evening, Judge Ed Emmett referred to Modi’s “rock star welcome” and believed that “India is our future.” He was proud to take a trade mission to India in December and stated that it was not just a trade mission but “a partnership.” According to him, India is not just “an economic partner but a spiritual partner as well.”

IACCGH also presented professional and public service achievements to five entities: Entrepreneurs of the Year Award went to Pallavi and Pinakin Dinesh, for their entrepreneurial venture Amzer; Pioneer Award for Education to Sonal Bhuchar for; Pioneer Award for Public Service was Judge Ravi K. Sandill; and Pioneer Award for Healthcare to Dr. Devinder Bhatia.

GAIL (India) Ltd and its US partners Carrizo Oil& Gas, Dominion Cove Point LNG and Cheniere Energy were honored for their pioneering efforts in securing India’s energy needs and the award was accepted by President of GAIL (Global) USA, Jayanta Sinha. The awards were presented by Cornyn.

Mondira Tangri, who retired last year after having worked with the Chamber for more than a decade, was also honored for her years of service to the Chamber. Event coordinator, Therese Cole Hubbs of Electric Karma International and emcee Rashi Vats were also felicitated.
President Elect for 2015, Ashok Garg, gave the vote of thanks and outlined his plans for the coming year. He thanked Shell, United Airlines and the other sponsors for their generosity and appreciated Dr. Durga and Sushila Agrawal, Dr. Neil Badlani and Rekha Muddaraj, Avinash and Peggy Ahuja and Umesh and Preeti Verma for being the Gala Co-Chairs.

A delicious dinner by Daawat Catering was served to the guests while Frost 321 whipped up the smoothest ice creams using liquid nitrogen right before your eyes. MoodaFaruka provided the entertainment for the evening.