iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
Indian American delegates from all over the United States gathered at Capitol Hill for the Capitol Hill Advocacy Day organized by the Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) on April 27. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness about policy matters and engage in discussions with more than 75 House representatives and their staff. The delegates aimed to provide a voice for the 4.5 million Indian Americans who contribute to various fields but lack sufficient influence on policy matters.
“In our advocacy day, we focused on three critical issues: immigration, US-India relations, and religious phobia. We strongly advocated for the abolition of country-wise limits on employment-based permanent residency to create a fairer immigration system. To counter China’s dominance, we emphasized the importance of unblocking, supporting, and accelerating the Initiative of Critical and Emerging Technology (ICET). Additionally, we called for the expansion of the Indo-Pacific QUAD to include regional countries, addressing security concerns about the security of Taiwan, and the Indo-Pacific region. Lastly, we raised concerns about religious phobia faced by faiths of Indian origin and proposed measures such as a congressional resolution on religious phobia,”, said Khanderao Kand, Founding Director of the FIIDS.
The delegates were welcomed by representatives like Congressman Evans Dwight and Congressman Andy Biggs. Congressman Josh Harder discussed the significance of India’s alliance with the United States. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who introduced the backlog reduction act, was commended by the delegates, who expressed their commitment to supporting the bill.
The day concluded with a celebration reception titled “The US-India Partnership,” which brought together house members, their staff, diplomats, think tank experts, officials, and delegates. This event was supported by the American Jewish Community (AJC), Congressman Andy Barr, and Dr. Suvas Desai. Jason Isaacson, Chief Policy & Political Affairs Officer of AJC, expressed that I2U2 is the optimal platform for fostering US-India cooperation in promoting peace, prosperity, and growth in the Middle East.
India’s ambassador to the US Taranji Singh Sandhu lauded the Indian diaspora and the US Congress for playing a “pioneering role” in building and strengthening the relationship between the two countries.
Nancy Izzo Jackson, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for South and Central Asia, emphasized the consequential nature of the US-India relationship, highlighting its bilateral and multilateral aspects with many initiatives. She mentioned the positive role of the QUAD in addressing pressing regional issues and the joint announcement of an Indo-Pacific partnership on maritime domain awareness. She also highlighted various projects, such as food security and addressing climate change through green technology advancements, within the I2U2 framework.
Nadav Zysblat, Minister-Counselor (Political), highlighted the immense opportunities for Jewish and Indian-American entrepreneurs to invest in joint initiatives between the US, Israel, UAE, and India, particularly in the Cleantech and Greentech sectors.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), elaborated on the US-India partnership in drug control while Mukesh Aghi, CEO and President of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, discussed strategic partnership principles, emphasizing trade for economic prosperity in India and technology partnership to reduce dependency on Russia.
Several House representatives spoke on various aspects of US-India relations and praised the role of the Indian diaspora.
Highlighting the strength of the India-US partnership, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi attributed it to Indian Americans as the bridge that brings the two countries together. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney emphasized the long-standing alliance and trading partnership between America and India. Congressman Glenn Grothman expressed concerns raised by Indian Americans regarding college admissions despite having good scores, advocating for education system reform.
Congressman Dan Mauser applauded President of India Droupadi Murmu’s statement calling Russia’s actions unacceptable and expressed his support for a strong US-India partnership. Congressman Mike Collins assured the Indian American community of his availability as a problem solver. Dr. Rich McCormick expressed his belief that Indian Americans are the most crucial demographic in shaping the future of American politics and that their influence can significantly impact the outcome of presidential elections.
Congressman David Schweikert, a frequent visitor to India, pledged his unwavering support for a strong US-India partnership that would endure throughout the century. Based on his own story from struggle to succeed as an immigrant, Congressman Thanedar offered full support to solve immigration-related issues.
Congressman Ro Khanna commended the Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) for their effective advocacy, stating that he received positive feedback and was heartened by their efforts. He emphasized that the involvement of Indian Americans is not only beneficial for their community but also contributes to the prosperity, security, and strength of the United States of America.
Senate candidate Congresswoman Barbara Lee visited the reception, interacted with delegates, especially those from California, and encouraged them to be active in advocacy.
Nissim B Reuben, AJC’s Assistant Director and a driving force behind Jewish and Indian Diaspora collaboration emphasized the potential for the Jewish and Indian-American Diaspora to work together in both domestic and international arenas.
“It is evident that Indian Americans’ involvement is not only advantageous for their community but also has broader implications for the United States, leading to increased prosperity, enhanced security, and a stronger democracy,” said Kand.