On 25 April, 2012, the CII-India Business Forum and the Embassy of India partnered to organize an event at the U.S. Capitol Hill at which top representatives of Indian companies in the United States met with U.S. Congressmen. It was a star-studded event attended by over twenty Members of Congress including US Senators Mr. John Cornyn; Mr. Mark Warner; Ms. Jeanne Shaheen; Mr. Michael Bennet; Mr. Robert Menendez; Mr. John Boozman; and US House RepresentativesMr. Ed Royce; Mr. Steve Chabot; Mr. Silvestre Reyes; Mr. Ted Deutch; Mr. Leonard Lance; Mr. Alan Nunnelee; Mr. Tim Griffin; Mr. Bill Pascrell; Mr. Hansen Clarke; Mr. Michael Turner; Mr. Rush Holt; Mr. Jim Costa; Ms. Jean Schmidt; Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee; and Ms. Jan Schakowsky, who also spoke at the function. In addition, senior officials of the US Administration, members of the US and Indian media and senior staffers from the US House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate also attended the interaction.
Speaking at the event Ambassador Nirupama Rao drew attention to the fact that this interaction between Indian industry and the distinguished Members of Congress was an expression of the strong belief and commitment of the Indian private sector to promote India-US commercial ties and to work with the US Congress and other institutional stakeholders to further this objective. "Indian industry is a key stakeholder in building mutually beneficial commercial partnerships with the United States, including through job creation in the local economy and through their interaction with local communities in the United States", she said. Ambassador Rao praised the Indian private sector for providing crucial support in expansion of India-US business ties. She expressed confidence that the US Congress and US Administration would offer full support to the continuing strengthening of bilateral relationships, in recognition of the constructive contribution of Indian businesses in the United States.
Underlining that India’s strong economic growth is a key driver in forging a strong India-US Strategic Partnership, Ambassador Rao said that despite global economic uncertainties, the fundamentals of the Indian economy remain strong and India’s GDP is expected to grow at about 7.6% in the current fiscal year.
The Members of the US Congress were unanimous in their support for a strong India-U.S. Strategic Partnership, in particular on issues of global concern including counterterrorism and security, and the rapidly growing bilateral trade and investment linkages. They highly appreciated the role of the Indian companies and Indian investments in the United States. They also recognized the opportunities that India’s growth offered for the U.S. businesses. Senator John Cornyn called it a “special relationship” and said that “Strategic Partnership is one of the greatest achievement” for our two countries. He also supported discussions on Bilateral Investment Treaty. Senator Warner called India – U.S. ties as “the most defining relationship of the 21st century”. He said that the relationship was now maturing and it was time to convert friendship into partnerships. Senator Bennet said that he wanted “nothing more than a close relationship” between the two countries. He supported open immigration for movement of professionals between the two countries. Senator Menendez emphasized the importance of India – U.S. economic relationship. He said that it was a “two-way street with partnerships in innovation and entrepreneurships benefitting the people on the ground”. He also favoured a liberal visa regime for highly skilled applicants. “India as a democracy stands with the United States on international issues, including those relating to security that goes beyond trade and economic issues”, said Senator Menendez. Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee praised India’s important role and partnership with the U.S. on international security and stability. Congressman Ed Royce said that India – U.S. trade had seen 400% increase since 2000. He said, “US$ 100 billion of bilateral trade is only a start”. Congressman Pascrell called India a “proper and positive ally” of the United States.