Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, welcomed the new Ambassador of India to the United States, Nirupama Rao, during an event held by the Indian Embassy in conjunction with the Caucus on Thursday. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH and members of the Indian-American community also joined in the celebration of U.S.-India relations.
Below are Rep. Crowley's remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Thank you for being here today, and thank you to my co-chair Ed Royce.
"I'm so glad to see so many people from across the country, from India and especially from New York. I'm proud that we've built this into the biggest country-specific caucus in Congress.
"I'd like to thank our Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns for coming today -- it is a sign of the importance of our growing relationship with India that he has gone out of his way to attend this event. I know Bill has a strong team working on India at the State Department as well -- my office very much appreciates all the hard work of his staff. I also know our Secretary of State is committed to a very strong U.S.-India relationship.
"And of course I want to congratulate Ambassador Rao on her new position. We are here today to welcome her to the U.S. House of Representatives. I understand she recently had a similar event in the Senate.
"We are so glad to be at this event, and I'm happy to see the India-U.S. relationship growing by leaps and bounds. Ten years ago, I think both the United States and India looked at each other with some level of suspicion.
"Since that time, I have traveled to India many times, and in talking with Indians and Americans, I think it's clear we have both realized that our destinies are not only similar -- they are bound together.
"If there's one message I would like to focus on -- and I know there are lots of media here -- it's that I believe that there is no large country in the world which will be more important to the United States than India. And, there will be no large country more important to India than the United States. It will be our single most important large-country relationship in the next 100 years.
"In fact, the nearly 1.5 billion people of India and the United States not only can change the world, we are the world, or at least a lot of the world.
"One of the reasons we've seen such growth in our ties is that our people have a lot in common. It's also because our values have a lot in common. We both believe in freedom. We both believe in democracy. And we both believe in the importance of human rights.
"And frankly, we also both face a lot of the same challenges. We both face ongoing threats from extremism and terrorism. We both face barriers to our economic growth. And we both face challenges to doing more on hunger and environmental issues. But more and more, we are addressing all of these challenges through working together.
"While I have long been interested in India, it's important to remember that this is the Caucus on India and Indian-Americans. How lucky is America to have the contribution of 3 million Indian-Americans to our history, our economy our culture and our communities?
"Many of you who are here today represent the best and brightest of this community, and America is stronger and better because of you."
Reps. Crowley and Ed Royce (CA-40) serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans in the 112th Congress.
Congressman Crowley is the seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and serves as a Chief Deputy Whip in the House of Representatives.