Remarks by Ambassador At House India Caucus Reception (December 1, 2011)
Congressman Ed Royce;
Congressman Joe Crowley;
Distinguished Members of the House of Representatives and the House India Caucus;
My dear friend Deputy Secretary of State William Burns;
Distinguished Members of the Indian American Community
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am sincerely grateful to Congressman Royce and Congressman Crowley and Deputy Secretary Burns for their generous words. It is indeed an honour to be amidst all of you this evening.
The House India Caucus has been a tremendous source of strength in promoting India-U.S. relations for almost two decades now. In fact I was in Washington in the mid-90s, the year the House caucus was formed actually. And indeed, over the years the caucus has done a commendable job in both focusing public opinion and attention of governments in both our countries on the importance of our partnership, even at a time when it was difficult to imagine that we would achieve the depth and the expanse of the relationship as we enjoy today. The bipartisan support that the caucus showcases speaks of the enduring strength of our ties.
The caucus is formally called the "Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans." That it recognizes the seminal role that the Indian American community has to play in building India-U.S. partnership is a testimony to people's power in our engagement -- something which is quite relevant and indeed appropriate for the world's largest and oldest democracies. I will say to our friends from the Indian American community that your vigor and your drive has added new vitality in our relationship and that you will always remain a valuable link bonding our two nations.
The caucus, since its launch, has been led by some of the most illustrious Congressmen and Congresswomen, a number of whom are present here today. We are thankful for their leadership, for their vision and for their guidance.
We are also fortunate to have Congressman Royce and Congressman Crowley leading the caucus today -- two of the staunchest supporters of strong India-U.S. relations and amongst the most influential voices for the Indian American community on the Hill. You are great friends of India and we look upon your efforts in bringing our peoples and governments closer, and we look upon these efforts with great appreciation and deep admiration.
Today, it is indeed an exciting time in India-U.S. relations when we have a virtually limitless horizon of what we can do together. Our futures are conjoined in so many ways. I feel most fortunate and blessed to be India's Ambassador to this great nation at such a time, and to have the opportunity to make a contribution to this unfolding, I would say, almost epic saga of a great new partnership built upon common values, shared interests, converging interests and a shared vision of the world.
This is no ordinary relationship. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has described our partnership as one uniquely founded on both "principles and pragmatism.” President Obama calls it "one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century." This is a relationship that goes beyond a merely bilateral construct, and it has a much wider and much deeper significance for peace, freedom and prosperity of the entire humanity. Indeed, India-U.S. strategic partnership is a pillar of stability amidst many uncertainties that surround us-- political, security and economic -- in the world today.
And in all of this -- and in my experience of the relationship and my dealing with issues that concern this relationship over the last two years in my tenure as India’s foreign secretary -- I have been especially privileged to have the support, the encouragement and the cooperation of colleagues and friends like Deputy Secretary Burns, who is with us today, and this has been enormously important and beneficial as we have worked together to forge a closer partnership between our two countries. I really thank you for that support and encouragement.
This extraordinarily positive vibrations of our relationship are most evident every time I visit the United States Congress. In my long diplomatic career, I have seldom witnessed such goodwill and desire to improve the relations between our two countries in such a high office, and this very deep commitment to do better and to work towards building a more robust relationship between India and the United States.
Honorable Members of Congress:
It is, therefore, a great honour to be welcomed by you today. I look forward to working with the caucus and its leadership in the months and the years ahead to take forward this great relationship.