Washington, DC: The House Republican Conference and House Foreign Affairs Committee reached out to the Indian- American Community in order to strengthen the relations between the countries in the areas of security, economy, immigration, education and foreign affairs in a meeting on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 in the US Capitol. Around 150 Indian American community leaders, under the changing political clouds, met the House Majority Congress leaders to ensure the continuation of contextual relations and promises in the mentioned areas. In the event of exchange and transfer of power in the future, the gathering was an attempt to consolidate a better tomorrow rich in jobs, economic stability and greater opportunity. The meeting represents part of the ongoing series of meetings sponsored by the House Republican Conference to welcome different constituencies to Capitol Hill to engage in open dialogues with members of Congress.
The meeting was emceed by Miss DC 2013 Bindhu Pamarthi and Ricky Gill. Congressman Mr. Ed Royce, Chair, House Foreign Relation committee, in his welcome speech said that both the countries need each other. The relation between India and US is based on the values of democracy, tolerance and secularism which are at stake in different parts of the world at present destabilizing global peace and security. The House Republican Conference Chair, Congress-woman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers emphasized the utilization of resources on education, entreuprenrship and small businesses. It has to be mentioned here that Cathy visited India in the recent past and explored the possibilities of US investments in India. The House Majority Leader Mr. Eric Cantor said,”the upward mobility of both the countries is pulling them together to work jointly based on the principles of greater opportunity, liberty, and justice for all.” He emphasized the need for health care and education.
The Acting Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu in his speech reciprocated saying that the relationship is not only between the governments but people to people.
The civil societies play a crucial role in upholding the democratic, human and humanitarian values in partnerships,within their own countries. They also jointly work in countries like Afghanistan, promoting agriculture and participation of women in grassroots income/food producing projects and in national affairs. He appealed to the US policymakers to remedy the scale of imbalance towards the Indian IT companies in the pending immigration bill. Apart from the fundementals and principles of relations between the countries, specicfic scope and possibilities of projects like delivering natural gas, from Texas to India at 20% less than the global market cost was recommended by Mr. Ted Poe, Congressman fromTexas. The others who spoke on the occasion calling for greater cooperation between the countries at home abroad and were, Conference Vice Chair, Lynn Jekins, Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam who warmly endorsed India as a friend to US, Congressmen, Rob Woodhall, Robert Pittenger, David Schweikert, Mike Fitzpatrick, Joe Wilson and the first Latino Congreewoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen.
Mr. Shanti Gandhi, the Kansas State Representative and the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi advocated to help the needy instead of exploiting their vulnerable situation. Diversification in action and policies is a must to accommodate the less-qualified and less-trained. His maxim that one size can not fit all, called for a humane approach in the distribution and governance of tax-payers money.
Indian-American business men who shared their success stories encouraging and challenging those who attended the meeting were Mr. Sanjay Poonen of VMWare, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, and Mr. Trivedi of IGate. The statistics they presented of the 1% Indian-Americans contributing 20% of the doctors and 30% in technological field in US, shows the potentials and capacity of the Indian -American community.
Smaller groups met on the following themes: Millennial Priorities, Foreign Affairs and Small Business and Tax. This informative, rubbing the shoulder and shaking the hand experience with members of the House Majority Congressmen, is the beginning of many to come, in the “Century of India”as congressman David Scweikert put it.
Contibuted by Dr. Daniel Chelliah who attended the meeting. Daniel lives in Bowie, Maryland. His telphone number is 301 464 8264
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