Over 16,000 Indians have visited the United States since 1950 through educational, cultural, or professional exchange programmes sponsored by the US, a senior American envoy said today. Speaking at the Alumni Conference for US government- sponsored exchange participants from India and Bhutan, MaryKay Carlson, Charge d'Affaires at the US Embassy here said that some of the closest and strongest people-to-people ties are those forged through study abroad or through an exchange experience. "The Indian and Bhutanese exchange alumni community includes two former Presidents and five Prime Ministers, including the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and countless CEOs, entrepreneurs, artists, academics, and media persons at the forefront of their fields," Carlson said. He said the power of intercultural exchanges are the life-long bonds that they form. "Since 1950 when the first cultural exchange between the United States and India began, approximately 16,000 Indians have visited the United States on an educational, cultural, or professional exchange program. "Over 200 Bhutanese citizens have participated in US government-sponsored exchange programs since 1971 when the first Fulbright Fellowship was awarded to a Bhutanese student," Carlson said.
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