“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.
“Indo American community is one of our greatest assets,” he said. House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, praised the contribution of the Indian-American community in the country. “We look forward to working with you to really push this agenda of opportunity forward for all, no matter who you are,” he said.
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.
Describing the United States and India as partners, the Texas Congressman Ted Poe, said there is need to export natural gas to India. “We want to sell it to the nation of India. We can produce natural gas, we can ship it to India,” he said, adding that there is need to accelerate the process to remove bureaucratic hurdles in this regard.
Amidst a round of applause from the audience, Poe said that Pakistan is not a friend of the US and in fact described it as a “disloyal” ally. The United States should not be giving money to Pakistan, he said.