US lawmakers to visit India to strengthen Indo-US ties: USIBC

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Washington | Published: September 9, 2016 1:09:24 PM

Seeking to boost Indo-Us ties, a top Amercian industry advocacy group plans to arrange visit of about 100 American Congressmen and Senators to India in the next two years to help them meet top Indian leaders and officials.

Seeking to boost Indo-Us ties, a top Amercian industry advocacy group plans to arrange visit of about 100 American Congressmen and Senators to India in the next two years to help them meet top Indian leaders and officials.

“It is important that we convey a right story about India to the both to the House and the Senate. And the best way to convey that is for them to feel firsthand what is India all about – its culture, its politics, its food.

“… And I think, when they come back convinced that India is an important ally, its value systems are the same, the democracy, it has a press, which is as vibrant in bit countries,” Mukesh Aghi, US India Business Council (USIBC) president said.

USIBC plans to start the process in the new Congress and is targeting at taking at least 100 Congressmen and Senators in the next two years, he said.

“I think, it is important that we engage these Congressmen and Senators and take them to India itself,” he added.

Responding to questions about initial feedback from the Hill, he said the interest is very high to such a proposal.

As per LegiStorm – an unofficial site, which keeps track of foreign travel by lawmakers – India currently is not the popular destination for US lawmakers.

Israel is their top destination.

In 2015, US lawmakers made 159 trip to Israel, followed by 110 trips to the West Bank.

Germany came third with 62 trips, followed by Canada (38), Guatemala (23), Cuba (23), Tanzania (22), Japan (20) and Czech Republic (18).

India does not figure in its list of top 10 countries frequently visited by US lawmakers.

“We would have to work in partnership with the Government of India, because we would like them to have access to senior bureaucrats, ministers and have an open dialogue to talk to them,” Aghi said.

“The engagement between the legislative side is very important, which I think is lacking at the moment. On the executive side there is a lot of engagement, but on the legislative side there is not much,” Aghi said.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Indian parliamentarians are scheduled to arrive in the US next week for interacting with lawmakers, policy makers, think-tanks and officials.

The seven member delegation of Indo-US Forum of Parliamentarians (IUFP) as part of FICCI’s Forum of Parliamentarians is led by Baijayant “Jay” Panda of the Biju Janata Dal.

Other members are Anurag Thakur of and Harish Chandra Meena from BJP, Neeraj Shekhar from Samajwadi Party, Jayadev Galla from Telugu Desam Party and Rajeev Satav and Sushmita Dev from Indian National Congress.

The delegation will meet with elected representatives, policy experts, and industry members for a deeper understanding of India-US relations, a FICCI statement said.

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