U.S. Politicians Stress Upon Need For Strong Relations With India

The Legislative Conference of Indian American Friendship Council was attended by Chuck Schumer, Tulsi Gabbard and Nikki Haley, among others.


Lawmakers in the United States emphasized upon the need for strengthening ties with India, saying the Indian American community has a significant role to play in this, at the Legislative Conference of Indian American Friendship Council held in Washington. The U.S. politicians also asked the community to look for new avenues for growth.

Among those who attended the 20th annual conference, held on Oct. 31, was Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, who is known for his strong anti-H-1B stand. “I have worked very very hard on allowing more immigrants and particularly South Asian immigrants, people from India come to America,” Schumer said, PTI reported. He added that when he wrote the immigration bill, he made special provisions to allow more Indians into America.

His stance on the H1B visa has earned him unpopularity within the Congress and outside. The H1-B visa is the most used visa among Indian IT professionals as U.S. companies use them to employ them in specialty occupations.

In his address in the conference, Schumer celebrated the contribution of the Indian community to the United States, “in terms of science, in terms of business, in terms of creativity”. He added that he plans to travel to India soon.

Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also said America and India have made great strides in strengthening the relationship over the years. They have been cooperating in areas such as education, business, counter-terrorism and more, she added.

Gabbard is a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. “The Indian American Friendship Council’s work to promote mutual exchange of knowledge and ideas, further understanding between elected leaders and those in the private sector, and provide a voice to the more than three million Indian Americans living in the United States has furthered this progress and expanded the U.S.-India relationship for the benefit of both countries and their citizens,” Gabbard said.

America’s envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, in her keynote address in the conference brought up the issue of terrorism and the need to create an alliance with India so as to counter terrorist safe havens and to maintain peace in the Indo-Pacific region. Haley lauded India’s responsible role in the international community by saying: “India has long been a nuclear power. And nobody gives it a second thought. Why is that? Because India is a democracy that threatens no one.” She added that more than any other two leaders before them, Trump and Modi are committed to building on this partnership of shared values.

Congressman Ed Royce, the Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee, agreed with her. He stated that India lives in a tough neighborhood and that there needs to be counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries.

The gathering was attended by more than a dozen lawmakers, including Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Frank Pallone, Sheila Jackson Lee and Carolyn B. Maloney who headed efforts in Congress to create a commemorative Diwali stamp.

The Indian American friendship Council was founded in January 1990 as a body to enlighten lawmakers about Indian American interests.

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