Eagerly awaiting to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits the US in September, top American lawmakers have hoped that an assertive foreign policy of the new Indian government would bring the two countries closer than ever.
In their remarks, Congressmen cutting across party lines supported strengthening of ties with India.
They asked House of Representative Speaker John Boehner to invite Modi to address a joint session of the US Congress.
During a Congressional hearing on India held by House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, American lawmakers hoped that the Modi government would take steps to restore the confidence of the international business community and revive the economic growth of the country.
“Prime Minister Modi faces the daunting mission of reviving the Indian economy and taking steps to encourage private sector growth. I am hopeful that his strong position on trade and business development will help achieve this,” said Congressman Steve Chabot, who chaired the Congressional hearing on India.
“I am also hopeful that Modi’s resolve to implement a more assertive foreign policy, would foster further geo-political alignment and co-operation between the two nations because at the end of the day, US-India strategic interests do converge more than they conflict,” Chabot, member of the Republican Party, said.
“Initiative to spur development in India is critical and the US can play significant role in promoting and facilitating steps in this efforts,” he said, adding that US businesses continue to face several barriers in India including the crucial intellectual property rights.
The Congressional hearing came ahead of the India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi on July 31 for which Secretary of State John Kerry is travelling to India.
Expressing concern over market access, caps on foreign direct investment and the stalled bilateral investment treaty negotiations, Chabot hoped that these issues would be discussed during the next week’s Strategic Dialogue.
There can be no question that it is time for the India-US relationship to be taken to the next level, Congressman George Holding, who is also a Republican, said.
“Joining up the Modi magic with the American dream would be a very powerful combination worldwide,” said Holding, who visited India last year. Subcommittee’s Ranking Member F H Faleomavaega, a Democrat, said the US-India partnership should be, could be, one of the most defining of the 21st century.
“While it is shameful that the United States failed to develop a strong friendship and comprehensive partnership with Shri Modi when it mattered most, I thank Prime Minister Modi for accepting President Obama’s invitation to meet at the White House on September 30 of this year,” he said.
“Prime Minister’s willingness to put the past in the past is a testament to his track record of good governance.
He is a selfless leader who puts India first. In recognition of his visit to our Nation capital, I join with my colleagues in calling upon the House and Senate leadership to invite Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Session of the US Congress,” Faleomavaega said. Exuding confidence that Modi will usher in India’s new era, he said the US would be wise to support his goals.
“India will not threaten nor be intimidated by any country. India will deepen partnerships regionally and globally in areas of defence, nuclear energy, space research, and trade and investment.
“India will also invest heavily in infrastructure, affordable housing, healthcare, education, and clean energy,” he said.
Indian-American Democratic lawmaker Ami Bra said, “As an Indian American and Gujarati American member of Congress, this is an exciting time.”
He said that he looked forward to realising the full potential of the bilateral ties between the two largest democratic countries of the world.
“There is a real opportunity now to take this partnership to the next level. Both economically, geo politically India is emerging in its own way. If we do this right and take a long view of this relationship, we really have an opportunity to make this the defining relationship of the 21st century,” Bera said.
“I am hopeful that with the new change in regime that the future in the land of promise and the land of opportunity of India can finally become so,” said Republican lawmaker Curt Clawson, who is a frequent visitor to India and joint venture partnership factories in Pune.
“This is an awesome country with awesome potential and somebody we need to be friends with and we can trust, not just for security, but also for economic development,” he said.
Congressman Gerald Connolly, who is a Democrat, said the US has “hopefully” found a partner in Modi that will continue
India’s record of trade liberalisation and economic growth, address bureaucratic inefficiency, and strengthen regional co-operation with the United States.
The success of the US rebalance to Asia and the Pacific will depend heavily upon its relationship with India, he added.
Congressman Brad Sherman from California said so far as many as 84 members of the House of Representatives have joined him in urging the Congressional leadership to invite Modi to address a joint session of the US Congress.
He hoped that the India US nuclear deal would be implemented.