Top Senators and influential Congressmen have advocated for a strong India-US tie and underscored the contribution of the Indian-American community in this matter.
At the Indian Independence Day celebrations event at the US Capitol on Wednesday, Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, recalled his visits to India and seeing “the greatness of the largest democracy in the world in full action". “Had it not been for the Indian community that came to West Virginia to provide their services, most of rural West Virginia would not have health care today," he said while observing that a major section of healthcare service in the rural US is provided by Indian-American doctors.
The event was organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in association with the American Hindu Coalition and the Federation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith stressed the importance of having strong relations between India and the United States.
“The relationship is mutually beneficial for both of the countries and not just in the field of medicine and technology," said the Republican Senator from Mississippi. Senator Shelley Capito from West Virginia noted how the Indian-American community is playing a key role in enriching the cultural experience of her state.
“I live in Charleston, West Virginia, a small rural state. If we did not have any Indian-American doctors, we would not have any kind of quality healthcare, we would not have the breadth and the depth and the richness of our communities that we have," she said. India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said that there is a close connection between the two countries and today it is driven by the leadership of the two largest democracies of the world.
Observing that in a month more than half a dozen senior Indian ministers are visiting the country and a similar visit would happen from the US to India, he said that this is a reflection of the relationship. Indian-American doctors have a very important role to play in the India-US relationship, Sandhu said.
Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna said, “India should not be subject to (CAATSA) sanctions because of its historic relationship with Russia." Praising the recent messaging of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Russian leadership, Khanna said India can play a critical role in a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict. Modi, who met Vladimir Putin last week on the sidelines of the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand, had told the Russian leader that “today’s era is not of war". Pramila Jayapal, the first and only Indian-American woman in the US Congress, said India and the US, despite being a world apart, have shared a very unique and important relationship over the years.
India and the US have made tremendous strides in the promotion of public health. With the help of more than USD 200 million in aid from the US, India surpassed an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19 by administering two billion doses of vaccines, the second most of any country in the world, she said. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said the Indian American community needs to make its presence known.
India, he said, has done a lot in the last 75 years. “I want to talk a little bit about its (India’s) greatest export. Its greatest export is you Indian Americans who are four million strong. They are the fastest-growing ethnic minority in America. They’re the most prosperous ethnic minority. The most well educated." Congressman Ted Deutch said India and the US are strategic partners and Indian-Americans are the key assets in the India-US relationship. Sampat Shivangi, a member of the National Advisory Council, Center for National Mental Health Services, said Indian-Americans have a key role to play in the India-US relationship.
Alok Shrivastava from the American Hindu Coalition (AHC) said they want more Indian doctors to come here. “The process should be simple. The AHC is also pushing for simplified legal immigration from India for those kinds of people." Asserting that Indian doctors are a brand now in the US because of the selfless service they have done to the country, AAPI president Dr Ravi Kolli said India has done a great job in the last 75 years in all aspects of development.