WASHINGTON D.C.(TIP): The American India Public Affairs Committee (AIPACom) organized a reception in honor of Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. on June 27th. Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee; Joe Crowley, Chair, India Caucus; Steve Chabot, Chairman, Subcommittee, South Asia; Gregory Meeks, Joe Wilson, Ami Bera, Grace Meng and several high-ranking officials from State Department, Senate and India Caucus participated. Joe Crowley Congressmen present expressed their whole-hearted support for India.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Jagdish Sewhani, President of the AIPACom said that the issue of pulling out the United States and its allied forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and the rise of Taliban have created a sort of anxiety in the region. “There is a fear in the region that Taliban, supported by radicalized Pakistani army may make a forceful bid to take over Afghanistan and establish Sharia. This could trigger tension in the region,” he said.
Disappointed over Pakistan’s sluggish pace of trial in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee demanded that the seven suspects, including LeT operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, be handed over to the International Criminal Court to bring them to justice. Royce said there are rogue elements in the ISI who would use the opportunity of any instability in Afghanistan to go back to the Taliban era. “Ethnic cleansing is going on in Pakistan today against those who are speaking against it,” he said, alleging that the population of Hindus in Pakistan has now dropped to 1.5 per cent as against 25 per cent at the time of independence. Tracing the history of India Caucus, Sewhani said that the India Caucus has been a source of strength. It has done a commendable job to further cement an Indo-American relationship. Reminding the audience, Sewhani said that Pakistan is still the epicenter of terrorism.
It is a wellknown fact that Pakistan is using terrorism as a tool to achieve its foreign policy objectives. At the moment, Pakistani society is the most radicalized society. Even though Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ostensibly wants to mend the relationship with India, Pakistan Intelligence Agency ISI is reported to have opened two new centers to train a large number of youngsters in terrorism on the other side of Jaisalmer in Indian state of Rajasthan. Trade between India and the USA has increased by 40% since the launch of Indo-US Strategic Dialogue by the Obama Administration 3 years ago and could cross $100 billion.
The bilateral trade between India and the US could touch $500 billion mark over the next decade. Time has come for the oldest democracy in the world, the USA, to support the largest democracy in the world, the Republic of India and fourth economy in the world, in its bid to become the permanent member of the UN Security Council. “Both, USA and India are natural allies. Because of our mutual understanding and regard for each other, a new era in Indo-American relationship has dawned. The time has come to take this relationship from a mere friendship to a strategically meaningful relationship”, said Sewhany. (Based on a press release)