Led by the Republican leadership, more than two dozen lawmakers reiterated their commitment to India-US relationship and Indian-Americans. To top it all, Nikki Haley, the South Carolina Governor and a rising star of the Republican Party, addressed the select group of an over two hundred eminent Indian-Americans invited from across the country at the first-of-its kind "Indian-American Meet up". In her video message, Haley said she was proud of her Indian heritage. This is part of the effort by the Republican Party to bring the Indian-Americans, which traditionally have been supporters of the Democratic Party, into its fold. "Let us engage with our natural ally," said Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee.
"As we have got more and more engaged, we have found just how many things we have in common with India," he said.
"This should be the focus of our foreign policy," Royce said adding that trade liberalization with South Asia, India in particular should be the key goal of the United States.
Welcoming community leaders from across the country to the first ever "Republican Indian American Meet Up", Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference, said the party leadership wants to hear about the issues that are important for Indian Americans. "This is a special occasion, but also very important," she said.
Rodgers who travelled to India early this year said, "America is continuing to prosper because of Indian Americans, small business owners who start with a few dollars and then create thousands of jobs."
"The transformation, over the last decade, in US-India relations is truly- extraordinary. And the credit, in no small measure, goes to the energy imparted, to this partnership, by the United States Congress, Congressional Leaders, and the Indian American community," Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Charges d'Affaires of the Indian Embassy in the US, said in his address.
Describing Indian Americans as one of the "most vibrating community" in the US, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said as the largest democracy in the world India shares common goals and ideals with the US. "America is better because of your (Indian American) participation," said Ros-Lehtinen, the first Hispanic woman elected to the US Congress.
The challenge of extremism threatens the national interest of both the countries, she added. "Another shared commitment is to seeking ways to expand our trade relationship," she said.
Congressman David Schweikert from Arizona said the economic relationship between the two countries is one of the great success stories. Congressman Robert Pittenger from North Carolina, who is also chair of the Congressional task force on counter terrorism, said counter-terrorism co-operation between the two countries has increased tremendously in recent years.
"Coming from India, we need to strive to promote peace," said Shanti Gandhi, the Kansas State Representatives.