US lawmakers laud progress in US-India partnership

Washington, Feb 28 (IANS): Both Republican and Democratic co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans have lauded the tremendous progress made in advancing the US-India partnership with President Barack Obama's recent India visit.

Ami Bera, the only Indian American in Congress, and George Holding, Democratic and Republican co-chairs of the caucus, respectively highlighted the progress in India-US ties at a luncheon discussion on Capitol Hill Thursday.

Jointly organised by the Embassy of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) the event "India-US Partnership: Shared Effort-Progress for All", brought together key stakeholders on Capitol Hill.

The session focused on the sea change in the US-India relationship, particularly given President Obama's recent substantive visit to India, and the shared path forward between the two countries, according to a media release.

In his opening remarks, Holding highlighted the important role that Indian companies are playing through their significant investment and creation of jobs in the US, a lesser-known but equally critical side of the India-US bilateral partnership.

Reflecting on his recent trip to India with Obama, Bera reiterated the strategic values and compatibility that India and the US share.

In the last eight months, the conversation surrounding the relationship has grown to one of optimism and endless opportunities, he said.

"To take advantage of the momentum and move forward especially in our economic partnership, we need to harness the energy and success of the Indian American community and recognize the increasing significance of investments by Indian companies in the US," Bera said.

India's Charge d'affaires Taranjit Singh Sandhu relayed the primary deliverables of Obama's visit to India, commenting that the "relations between India and the US have never been as strong".

"Our long standing strategic relationship has been upgraded with Delhi Declaration of Friendship committing both nations to elevate the Strategic Dialogue to a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to advance mutual prosperity," he said.

Reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to be open for business and deepen ties with the US, Sandhu discussed the positive developments between India and the US in sectors such as defence, renewable energy and education.

He also noted the significant contribution of Indian and US companies to advancing this relationship.

Vivek Sharma, Chairman, CII-India Business Forum and CEO, Piramal Healthcare Ltd., speaking on behalf of Indian industry, welcomed the change in tone and tenor of the India-US relationship from just last year.

Stating that Obama's visit to India "marks an inflection point in the US-India bilateral strategic relationship", Sharma underscored some of the challenges being faced by Indian companies in the US.

These included the lapsing of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), market access barriers in the pharmaceutical and financial services sectors as well as issues related to the mobility of high-skilled labour.

The session was the first interaction organised under the aegis of the House India Caucus and helped highlight the vast progress that has been made as well as the momentous scope for even greater cooperation between India and the US.


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