RECOGNIZING CONTRIBUTIONS OF PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN TO UNITED STATES AND BENEFITS OF WORKING TOGETHER WITH INDIA -- (House of Representatives - May 11, 2004)
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 352) recognizing the contributions of people of Indian origin to the United States and the benefits of working together with India towards promoting peace, prosperity, and freedom among all countries of the world.
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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by commending Congresswoman Millender-McDonald for introducing this bipartisan bill. H. Con. Res. 352 recognizes the contributions of people of Indian origin to the United States and the benefits of working together with India towards promoting peace, prosperity, and freedom among all countries of the world.
As the world's 2nd most populous nation and the largest democracy in the world, India and the United States have forged a long-lasting friendship. For the past month, peoples from all over the country of India went to the polls and marked their choice for Parliament. This act of citizenship shows India's neighbors, and nations across the world, that democracy works. Reports indicate that over 50 percent of the population voted in this year's elections.
India shows us that the commitment to democracy is strong and that the ties between India and the United States are even stronger. The everlasting bond that is forged by the 1.7 million Indian-Americans living in the United States is a shinning example of our commitment to one another. Indian-Americans lead thriving lives in communities throughout the U.S.-the contributions to our society demonstrate the resilience and fervor of the Indian-American spirit. It is that spirit that holds the future between our two nations together.
Mr. Speaker, following the September 11th cowardly and evil terrorist attacks on the United States, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee offered to cooperate with the Bush Administration "in the investigation of this crime and to strengthen our partnership." The following day, the Indian Cabinet Committee on Security voted unanimously to offer the United States the use of Indian facilities for any U.S. military operation in pursuit of the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld states that, "the United States and India share important interests in fighting terrorism. ....."
In the past two years, the United States and India have held numerous joint exercises involving all military branches. Last September U.S. and Indian special forces soldiers held a two-week joint exercise in Ladakh near the India-China border, and the largest-ever "Malabar 2003" joint naval exercises off the southern coast of India that included an American nuclear submarine.
In the 2002 report of the National Security Strategy of the United States, the White House made the following statement: "The United States has undertaken a transformation in this bilateral relationship with India based on a conviction that U.S. interests require a strong relationship with India. We are the two largest democracies, committed to political freedom protected by representative government. India is moving towards greater economic freedom as well. We have a common interest in the free flow of commerce, including through the vital sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean. Finally, we share an interest in fighting terrorism and in creating a strategically stable Asia." I could not agree more.
Another great example of this fruitful bond is the fact that trade between India and the United States has shown a healthy growth in recent years. Last year, U.S. exports and imports from India totaled $5.0 billion and $13.1 billion, making India the 24th largest U.S. export market and the 18th largest supplier of U.S. imports. With a GDP of $390 billion and an annual growth rate of 6.8 percent, India is not only an important ally in defense, but also a key ally in international trade. Bilateral trade now stands at around $15 billion, with software exports at another $3 billion-emphasizing the true relationship between our two countries.
As the world comes together and joins forces to help its people, I am positive that the strong ties between India and the United States will serve as an example of fruitful and positive bilateral relations.
Mr. Speaker, H. Con Res. 352 is truly fitting. I stand here and pay special recognition to the proud and resilient people of Indian origin in the United States. Their devotion and hard work have brought great prosperity to countless communities in the United States. I am proud to be cosponsor of this bill and proudly congratulate all peoples of Indian origin for their perseverance.