The Co-Chairs of the Senate India Caucus – Senators John Cornyn, R-Texas, Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans — Congressman Brad Sherman, D-California; and Congressman George Holding, R-NorthCarolina, hosted a Congressional reception on Capitol Hill Feb. 7, to welcome India’s new Ambassador Harsh V. Shringla to the United States. The Ambassador also hosted a dinner for members of the Indian-American community at his residence in Washington.
The Capitol Hill event was attended by an unprecedented 67 Members of Congress, including Senators, the Indian Embassy said in a press release. In addition, leaders of the Indian-American community from across the United States, including Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, and representatives of business associations attended the event.
In their welcome remarks, Senators Warner and Cornyn, and Congressman Sherman and Holding, underlined the importance of the India-US strategic partnership and the critical role played by Congress, in particular, the India Caucus in strengthening relations, and committed to working together in building closer ties between the two countries.
The lawmakers also appreciated the “significant role” played by the Indian-American community in building bridges of understanding across the two cultures and nations, the press release said. They urged new members of the House and Senate to join the India Caucus.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, in her remarks, announced she will be introducing a bill in the 116th Congress to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Mahatma Gandhi in this 150th Birth Anniversary year.
Congressman Gregory Meeks, D-New York, talked about the inspiration Mahatma Gandhi had been for him. Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-New York, noted her support for India’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, also attended and spoke about the great contributions of the Indian-American community across all fields in the U.S.
Ambassador Harsh V. Shringla, in his speech, thanked the Caucuses’ Co-Chairs for their warm welcome, noting that the bipartisan support for the India-US strategic partnership was reflected in the turnout of the Members of Congress across the aisle for the event.
Shringla also pointed to the India Caucus being the largest country-specific Caucus on the Hill, as proof of overwhelming support for the relationship with India.
The Ambassador also thanked the Indian-American diaspora for serving as the cultural Ambassadors of India and contributing to a strong foundation for the strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies. He also noted the milestones in the bilateral relationship over the past year in all domains — defense, economic and trade, energy cooperation, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
At the community reception hosted by the Ambassador, Indian-Americans came from around the country, something that Shringla noted in his speech at the event. He expressed his appreciation for the community and noted the size of the Congressional reception which was unprecedented in the number of U.S. lawmakers who attended. He also said that once a year, he would like to host community leaders from around the country, to discuss and chart out the path for further strengthening U.S.-India relations.
Dr. Parikh, who also made remarks at the event, welcomed Ambassador Shringla on behalf of the Indian-American community. “As in the past, you can count on the community. And we would like your guidance on what is best for U.S.-India relations,” Dr. Parikh said.