US lawmakers pledge to deepen India US ties



Washington: Cutting across party lines, US lawmakers have pledged to redouble their efforts to further deepen the strategic ties between the world's oldest and largest democracies.

The lawmakers gathered at the Capitol Hill on Thursday, to hold a reception for the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, and pledged their support for Indo-US ties.

The reception hosted by House of Representative Caucus for India and Indian Americans was attended by top Congressmen and diplomats and officials from the US Government.

Among key lawmakers present at the reception were Howard Berman, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Relations Committee; Frank Pallone and Gary Ackerman; besides the Co-Chairs of the Caucus, Congressmen Joseph Crowley and Ed Royce.

Observing that it is an exciting time for Indo-US relationship, the Indian Ambassador said that the strategic partnership between the two countries is a pillar of stability among the many uncertainties that surround today.

"This is a relationship that goes beyond a merely bilateral construct and has a much wider and much deeper significance for peace freedom and prosperity of the entire humanity.

"Indeed India-US strategic relations, strategic partnerships is a pillar of stability among many uncertainties that surround us political security and economic in the world today," Rao said.

The presence of Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who is the number two in the State Department after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Crowley said reflects the growing relationship between the two countries.

"I know that Secretary Clinton is committed to the growth of this relationship," Crowley said.

This is a maturing relationship and that would continue to grow and mature, he said in his remarks.

"We can stand here today and toast the very significant progress in US-India relations the past decade. But it's important not to be complacent. The potential for much more is there. Both nations need to work towards raising the bar,' Royce said.

"Two obvious areas of greater cooperation are economic and security cooperation. We have seen economic cooperation rise to unprecedented levels, with two-way trade reaching a record high of USD 50 billion last year. Yet India's Commerce Minister describes the situation between the two countries as 'way below their potential'. I agree," Royce said.

"What's more frustrating is knowing that trade is being limited by impediments which both nations could correct. These are self-inflicted wounds. Examples that come to mind - the US could chop agricultural subsidy programmes; while India could provide better access for US exports," he said.

The two governments, business sectors, and community leaders of both nations should work together to unlock the full potential, he added.

PTI