On the Modi Trail – USINPAC’s Media Coverage of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi’s Washington trip: No address to joint session, but PM to meet 50 US Senators
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not be able to address the joint session of US Congress during his forthcoming trip to Washington owing to the Congressional holiday schedule, the PM could have luncheon meeting with senior US Senators and governors of important states as part of efforts to engage with a large section of the American administration.
Indeed, plans are on to oragnise a lunch with over 50 US Senators who play a critical role in decision making in the American system. US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), which is a broad-based group of Indian Americans, is driving this initiative.
Robinder Sachdev, head of the Indian chapter of USINPAC, told ET that the group is in touch with over 50 Senators for the proposed luncheon. Sachdev also informed that plans are on to organize a meeting between the PM and governors of key US states. The idea is have a get-together of over a dozen governors of states that are keen to invest in India.
Governors often lead trade delegations to various countries, including India, and are critical for business promotion between the two countries, Sachdev informed. Simultaneously, attempts are also being made to organize a meeting between Modi and top business leaders in Washington. Networth of these business houses is over $600 billion.
This would be the second meeting between Modi and business leaders in the same trip. He is expected to meet a group of businessman under the aegis of business chambers in New York before proceeding to Washington.
Earlier Senators Mark Warner, John Cornyn, Tim Kaine, Jim Risch, and the Senate India Caucus, sponsored a resolution urging a Joint Session of Congress address by Prime Minister Modi. But South Block officials told ET that due to the intervening US Congressional holiday schedule, and the House of Representatives’ urgency to leave Washington to prepare for the November elections in their home districts, a Joint Session address by the PM is unlikely to happen in September this year.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Sunday, the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) said that Modi will address hundreds of Indian Americans at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York on September 28. The event has been named “Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi Abhinandan Samaroh”.
According to OFBJP, Modi is hugely popular among the Indian Americans. Vijay Jolly, BJP Global Convener of Overseas Affairs, along with Chandrakant Patel, OFBJP-USA president, according to the statement, would tour several cities across the country to mobilise Indian American community leaders and the Indian diaspora for this event.
Source: Economic Times
Silicon Valley must be on Modi’s itinerary
The impending visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly and also to meet US President Barack Obama will be a significant step to set the tone and outcomes of US-India relations.
The importance of this visit lies in the fact that both parties are striving to draw a fresh first sketch on a blank-slate with a new prime minister at the helm in New Delhi. While officials are planning to generate as much value out of Modi’s trip to New York and Washington, DC, it is also time to create newer values in the bilateral relation. This can be possible if the prime minister engages with a wider audience in the US.
The Silicon Valley could be a great place to start this effort. Such a visit will give Modi the opportunity to see and experience for himself first-hand the culture and eco-system of technology, capital, and the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that has made the Valley the engine of America’s growth.
He would be invited to visit the campus or headquarters of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter — and could also sample some of the newest technologies that are being incubated by these giants — ranging from social media, to solar energy, to driver-less cars and wearable computing. Of course, included in the itinerary would be a meeting or town-hall with the technology CEOs, and a private dinner with the owner-CEOs of some of these top corporations.
Moreover, the Silicon Valley is no longer only about information technology, software and social media. The technology giants are moving towards innovation, products and solutions for smart cities and waste management, clean technology and solar energy, and advances in learning through tools like the Massive Open Online Course, among others.
India must take the leadership in inspiring this eco-system of innovation and entrepreneurship towards creating affordable solutions for the needs of the billions across the world.
Source: Hindustan Times
No Joint Session Address by Indian Prime Minister Modi in the United States
The US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) concluded its grassroots campaign launched two months ago urging Speaker John Boehner to schedule a Joint Session of Congress Address by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits the United States in late September.
Due to the Prime Minister’s brief U.S. sojourn, the intervening U.S. Congressional holiday schedule, and the House of Representatives’ urgency to leave Washington to prepare for the November elections in their home districts, a Joint Session Address by Prime Minister Modi will not take place in September 2014, USINPAC said in a statement.
“However, the USINPAC membership came away with an exceptional understanding that the journey – building a case for an enduring bilateral relationship – has been more important than the destination. To this end, USINPAC wishes to extend its heartfelt thanks to each and every member of Congress — Senate and House — who have engaged with our membership in this bipartisan effort,” the statement said.
USINPAC extended thanks to Senators Mark Warner, John Cornyn, Tim Kaine, Jim Risch, and the Senate India Caucus, for sponsoring a resolution urging a Joint Session of Congress Address by Prime Minister Modi and noting that this measure is a first in Senate History.
USINPAC thanked Congressmen Joe Crowley, Pete Roskam, and the House India Caucus for writing to, speaking with and urging Speaker John Boehner to schedule a Joint Session Address by Prime Minister Modi. USINPAC also extended thanks to Congressmen Brad Sherman, Ted Poe, Eni Faleomavaega for leading the “Dear Colleague” letter urging Speaker Boehner to schedule a Joint Session of Congress Address by Prime Minister Modi.
USINPAC also thanked individually to the following Members of Congress (in alphabetical order) who signed the Sherman-Poe “Dear Colleague” letter: Joe Barton, Ami Bera, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Gus Bilirakis, Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Mo Brooks, John Campbell, Tony Cardenas, John Carter, Donna Christensen, Judy Chu, David Cicilline, Mike Coffman, Chris Collins, Mike Conaway, Gerald Connolly, Jim Costa, Joe Courtney, Peter DeFazio, Ted Deutch, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Eni Faleomavaega, Bill Flores, Tulsi Gabbard, John Garamendi, Cory Gardner, Jim Gerlach, Kay Granger, Alan Grayson, Gene Green, Al Green, Michael Grimm, Denny Heck, Jeb Hensarling, Brian Higgins, Mike Honda, Bill Huizenga, Steve Israel, Bill Johnson, David Joyce, Joseph P. Kennedy III, Ron Kind, Peter King, Rick Larsen, Sheila Jackson Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Kenny Marchant, Carolyn B. Maloney, Mark Meadows, Gregory W. Meeks, Grace Meng, Mike Michaud, Randy Neugebauer, Pete Olson, Frank Pallone, Ted Poe, Ed Pastor, Ed Perlmutter, Scott Perry, David Price, Mike Quigley, Dana Rohrabacher, Bobby L. Rush, Loretta Sanchez, Allyson Y. Schwartz, David Schweikert, Pete Sessions, Brad Sherman, Albio Sires, Adam Smith, Lamar Smith, Jackie Speier, Steve Stivers, Steve Stockman, Dina Titus, Michael Turner, Pete Visclosky, Maxine Waters, Tim Walberg, Randy Weber, Roger Williams, and Ted Yoho.
“USINPAC hopes to continue its dialogue with the US Congress in order to support accelerated US-India strategic partnership and an effective working relationship with the new Government in India,” USINPAC statement said.
Source: Indus Business Journal
India hopes to clinch deal with US on LNG during Modi visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s persuasive skills will be put to test, when he visits the US which is to emerge as a major LNG exporter.
India is hoping that the US will agree to sell LNG to the country by exempting it from the requirement of a compulsory Free Trade Agreement (FTA) when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Washington DC in September.
“The issue is very much on the Prime Minister’s agenda, and we have indications that the US is seriously considering the matter,” a Government official told Business Line.
At present, the US gas is available to only those countries with which it has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and India does not have an FTA with the US.
Though two projects in the US, where GAIL (India) has stake, have been given special permission for future sourcing, New Delhi would prefer complete waiver from the existing conditions. India’s confidence on getting the waiver emerges from a Bill recently introduced in the US Congress for speedy approval of export of natural gas to World Trade Organisation countries.
“The introduction of the Bill on export of natural gas early March was followed by the India-US Energy dialogue in New Delhi attended by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz where the matter was discussed at length,” the official said.
Since the US has a lot of natural gas to export and India would prove to be a big market, officials are hopeful that a deal could be on the anvil during Modi’s proposed visit.
The Indian-American business community in the US, which has sprung into action to make Modi’s visit to the country a success, believes that a deal on LNG is a low-hanging fruit.
“The two sides need to make a big announcement during Modi’s visit to lift the bilateral relationship that has gone a little downward (in the recent past). Since the Bill that could give India a waiver and allow US to sell it LNG is already there in the Congress, we are optimistic that something on this could be announced in September,” Sanjay Puri, Chairman, US India Political Action Committee, toldBusiness Line during a recent visit to New Delhi.
LNG imports from the US are largely dependent on approvals from the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulation Commission and clearances from various departments of the US. Approval of Department of Energy is crucial as it pertains to export of LNG to countries which have a free trade agreement with the US and/or nations which have not signed FTA with the US but are not covered under any sanctions for trade relations.
GAIL was the first Asian company to have signed a long-term LNG sales and purchase agreement with Cheniere Energy Partners, LP (Cheniere) to procure 3.5 million tonne per annum of LNG from the latter’s Sabine Pass Terminal in Louisiana, US for a period of 20 years.
GAIL has also signed a Terminal Service Agreement with Dominion through GAIL Global (USA) LNG LLC for booking 2.3 million tonne annually liquefaction capacity in the Cove Point LNG liquefaction terminal project located at Lusby in Maryland.
As the agreements are on Freight on Board basis, GAIL is required to make its own arrangements for transportation of LNG from these terminals. The transportation of LNG is expected to begin from mid-2017.
Source: Hindu Business Line
Expat Indians congratulate Modi
Noted expatriate Indians Wednesday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on completing his first month in office.
A statement from United States India Political Action Committee (USIPAC), signed by Lord Meghnad Desai and other Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) winning overseas Indians, said they were looking forward to “engaging with a rejuvenated and vibrant India”.
“We extend our warm wishes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his new government on assuming office in India. The global Indian diaspora, as always, remains committed to the goodwill and image of India,” said the statement.
“We are honoured to felicitate you on this momentous occasion. We look forward to engaging with a rejuvenated and vibrant India,” it said.
Hasan Abdulkarim Chougule (Qatar), Bava Haji Pandalingal (Abu Dhabi), Prakash Lohia (Indonesia), Harindrapal Singh Banga (Hong Kong), Bikas Chandra Sanyal (France) and Lord Karan Bilimoria and Patricia Mario Rasario (both Britain) also signed the statement.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) is the highest honour conferred by the government of India on overseas Indians. The PBSA is conferred by the President of India as a part of the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention.
Source: Business Standard
Indian-Americans lobbying for US Congress invitation for Narendra Modi
Indian-American groups have launched a campaign to win more lawmakers’ support for a move to invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a joint session of US Congress when he visits US in September.
The ball was set rolling last week with Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and a fellow House member George Holding writing to House Speaker John Boehner with the suggestion.
“As you know, India is a critical partner of the United States. In every aspect – whether it be in political, economic or security relations – the United States has no more important partner in South Asia,” they wrote.
Following up on the letter, the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), which calls itself the voice of Indian- Americans, has launched a “state-by-state grassroots campaign” to win support for a Congressional invitation to Modi.
Three former Indian Prime Ministers, Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh have all been accorded this honour, noted USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri thanking Royce for his move.
USINPAC activists and chapter leaders in North Carolina, Indiana and New York among others have actively reached out to members of Congress in their states to win their support for such a Congressional invitation, USINPAC said.
Bridging Nations Foundation, a non-profit policy and advocacy organization founded by Indian-American entrepreneur Prakash Ambegaonkar, to “promote shared prosperity by developing international dialogue through collaboration and learning,” has also initiated a similar move.
By granting “Prime Minister Modi the honour of addressing a joint meeting of Congress, the US would show to the Indian people and the world our sincerity in rebooting and elevating US-India relations,’ it said.
The foundation urged Indian-Americans to “pick up your phone to contact your own congressmen” and request them to write to Boehner in support of the invitation.
The Speaker’s office has not yet announced a response to the two lawmakers’ letter, but an invitation to Modi is considered highly likely given how US leaders from President Barack Obama down have reached out to the Indian leader since his resounding victory.
The previous Bush administration had revoked Modi’s tourist/business visa in 2005 for his alleged inaction during the 2002 Gujarat riots under a 1998 US law barring entry to foreigners who have committed “particularly severe violations of religious freedom”.
Though late in reaching out to Modi in the run up to the elections, the US quickly made amends with Obama congratulating him on his victory and inviting him to visit Washington. Modi has accepted the invitation, though no dates have been announced.
Source: Economic Times
Obama should seize opportunity to invite Modi to White house
With results of the nine phases Lok Sabha elections due on May 16, and the likelihood, as projected by media, that Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Narendra Modi could be the next Prime Minister, many voices in the United States are counseling the White House that it should pay more attention to India.
In case Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister, one of his first international engagements is expected to be at the United Nations at New York – which holds a general assembly of all its members every year in the month of September.
According to many experts, the Obama administration has neglected the India relationship over the last years, and inviting the next Prime Minister to the White House will be the right thing it can do to repair and refresh the relationship. According to experts this becomes even more important if the next PM is Modi who has been vilified by the U.S. administration in the past.
Reacting to reports that there is increasing consensus among observers and the Indian American communities that President Barack Obama must seize the initiative and opportunity of the UN General Assembly to invite Modi to the White House, Dr. Stephen Cohen a senior analyst on South Asia affairs said, “It is indeed very important that White House shrug off its low interest in India and invite Modi to the White House if he becomes the Prime Minister. If President Obama has any concerns he can have a private conversation with Mr. Modi and set the future tone of U.S. -India relations”.
Meanwhile the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), a leading Indian American organization says that many of its members are reaching out to their elected representatives to educate them about the importance of inviting Modi to the White House in case Modi becomes the PM, and visits New York for the UN meetings.
“According to various independent polls there is a strong likelihood of Mr. Narendra Modi becoming the next Prime Minister of India next month. President Obama must seize this opportunity of the UN General Assembly to invite Mr. Modi and give leadership to a relationship which seems to be languishing presently”, said Mr. Sanjay Puri, the chairman of USINPAC.
India’s relationship with the U.S., and especially if Modi becomes the Prime Minister, is poised at a critical juncture according to experts. Earlier this month, a hearing on human rights at the U.S. Congress drew sharp criticism from several Congressmen for its blatant attempt to vilify Modi.
Among others Republicans Tulsi Gabbard and Eni Faleomavaega had strongly castigated the timing of the briefing which they interpreted as an attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of India when the country was holding its elections.
Source: Business Standard
US gears up for life after UPA eclipse, rethink on Modi visa issue possible
The US establishment appears to be gearing up for the eclipse of the Congress Party-led UPA government, going by various pronouncements in the administration, in the Congress, and in the media.
Some of this sentiment is reflected in the backsliding in Washington DC over a controversial resolution in the US House of Representatives (H.R 417) that praises the US administration for continuing to deny a US visa for the BJP’s prime ministerial candidateNarendra Modi and urges New Delhi to “to publicly oppose the exploitation of religious differences… especially in the run-up to India’s general elections in 2014.”
Even as the Congress Party was routed in the assembly elections, the so-called semifinals before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, some lawmakers are having second thoughts about the resolution.
Over the weekend, Ed Royce, the influential chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, came out publicly against the resolution, saying “it weakens, rather than strengthens the friendship between the US and India.”
“Our two nations share many common values and strategic interests. India plays a central role in the Asia-Pacific region, and we must do our part to ensure that India is a centerpiece of America’s rebalance to Asia. The resolution runs counter to all the hard work that the American people, particularly those in the Indian American community, have done to improve the relationship,” Royce said in a statement, without referring to the Modi visa flap or the election results.
Separately, Steve Chabot, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, which has broad jurisdiction for US policy affecting the region, withdrew his name as an original cosponsor of resolution, amid hectic lobbying by the USINPAC, an Indian-American pressure group that believes the House resolution constitutes an unacceptable intrusion into politics in India.
“From now until the elections in India, USINPAC will spare no effort in making sure the US. Congress does not intentionally or unintentionally influence the outcome of India’s upcoming elections. India is a sovereign nation and its citizens have a right to choose their leaders,” the USINPAC said in a statement.
While Royce and Chabot refrained from referring directly to the election outcome or the Modi issue, another ranking member, Eni Faleomavega, made no secret of his view that the resolution was aimed at the Gujarat chief minister and said the US was wrong in pursuing such a policy.
“The timing of the Resolution is unfortunate as it unintentionally invokes the name of the US House of Representatives for purposes of influencing India’s upcoming elections.” Faleomavega said in a statement, maintaining that, “India, like the United States, has an independent and transparent Judiciary and India’s Supreme Court and its Special Investigation Team have not found any evidence against Modi.”
“This is why I believe the US should shift its attitude and engage in dialogue with Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, just as the European Union and the UK are doing, and many other nations around the world,” he argued.
It is increasingly evident that Washington, which had already soured on the UPA government over stalled reforms, is ready to say goodbye to New Delhi’s ruling dispensation. In fact, there may be opportunities to say personal goodbyes this week in South Africa, where the UPA leadership will run into President Obama and his predecessor.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which primes US lawmakers about various domestic and international issues, had already spoken last year about the resurgence of the BJP/NDA, although many experts reckon the arithmetic still doesn’t add up to the 272 seats needed to form the next government.
The Obama administration too seems ready to deal with any change in New Delhi, despite the warm top-level engagement between the two leaders. “The United States looks forward to working in close partnership with India with whatever the outcome of that election process will be in terms of the next government that comes into place,” the administration’s new pointperson for South Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, said in her first meeting with journalists from the region last week.
Although Biswal said there was no change in the US policy on the Modi visa issue, she indicated broadly that were he to be elected Prime Minister of India, there would not be any issue in according him the correct diplomatic privileges, including the appropriate diplomatic visa.
The US industry and business community, smarting under various wrangles with the UPA government, has also indicated that it is looking forward to a new dispensation in New Delhi.
Source: Times of India
Modi’s Visit to U.S. – Important Press Releases leading up to the event
USINPAC Concludes Campaign to schedule Joint Session of Congress Address by PM Modi
Extends Warm Appreciation to US Congress for Solidarity with India
August 01; Washington DC.: Today, the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) concluded the grassroots campaign launched two months ago urging Speaker John Boehner to schedule a Joint Session of Congress Address by Prime Minister Modi.
Due to the Prime Minister’s brief U.S. sojourn, the intervening U.S. Congressional holiday schedule, and the House of Representatives’ urgency to leave Washington to prepare for the November elections in their home districts, a Joint Session Address by Prime Minister Modi will not take place in September 2014. However, the USINPAC membership came away with an exceptional understanding that the journey – building a case for an enduring bilateral relationship – has been more important than the destination. To this end, USINPAC wishes to extend its heartfelt thanks to each and every member of Congress – Senate and House – who have engaged with our membership in this bipartisan effort.
USINPAC extends thanks to Senators Mark Warner, John Cornyn, Tim Kaine, Jim Risch, and the Senate India Caucus, for sponsoring a resolution urging a Joint Session of Congress Address by Prime Minister Modi and noting that this measure is a first in Senate History.
USINPAC extends thanks to Congressmen Joe Crowley, Pete Roskam, and the House India Caucus for writing to, speaking with and urging Speaker John Boehner to schedule a Joint Session Address by Prime Minister Modi. USINPAC extends thanks to Congressmen Brad Sherman, Ted Poe, Eni Faleomavaega for leading the “Dear Colleague” letter urging Speaker Boehner to schedule a Joint Session of Congress Address by Prime Minister Modi.
USINPAC extends thanks individually to the following Members of Congress (in alphabetical order) who signed the Sherman-Poe “Dear Colleague” letter: Joe Barton, Ami Bera, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Gus Bilirakis, Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Mo Brooks, John Campbell, Tony Cardenas, John Carter, Donna Christensen, Judy Chu, David Cicilline, Mike Coffman, Chris Collins, Mike Conaway, Gerald Connolly, Jim Costa, Joe Courtney, Peter DeFazio, Ted Deutch, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Eni Faleomavaega, Bill Flores, Tulsi Gabbard, John Garamendi, Cory Gardner, Jim Gerlach, Kay Granger, Alan Grayson, Gene Green, Al Green, Michael Grimm, Denny Heck, Jeb Hensarling, Brian Higgins, Mike Honda, Bill Huizenga, Steve Israel, Bill Johnson, David Joyce, Joseph P. Kennedy III, Ron Kind, Peter King, Rick Larsen, Sheila Jackson Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Kenny Marchant, Carolyn B. Maloney, Mark Meadows, Gregory W. Meeks, Grace Meng, Mike Michaud, Randy Neugebauer, Pete Olson, Frank Pallone, Ted Poe, Ed Pastor, Ed Perlmutter, Scott Perry, David Price, Mike Quigley, Dana Rohrabacher, Bobby L. Rush, Loretta Sanchez, Allyson Y. Schwartz, David Schweikert, Pete Sessions, Brad Sherman, Albio Sires, Adam Smith, Lamar Smith, Jackie Speier, Steve Stivers, Steve Stockman, Dina Titus, Michael Turner, Pete Visclosky, Maxine Waters, Tim Walberg, Randy Weber, Roger Williams, and Ted Yoho.
USINPAC extends thanks to Speaker John Boehner for discussing with USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri and USINPAC leadership the scheduling challenges for a Joint Session Address by Prime Minister Modi during his upcoming visit to the United States. USINPAC hopes to continue its dialogue with the US Congress in order to support accelerated US-India strategic partnership and an effective working relationship with the new Government in India.
USINPAC reacts to historic Senate Resolution urging support for Modi Address to a Joint Session of Congress
25 July 2014; Washington D.C.: Today Senators Mark Warner, John Cornyn, Tim Kaine, Jim Risch made Senate History by sponsoring a resolution strongly supporting a Congressional invitation for a Joint Session of Congress address by Indian Prime Minister Modi during his September 2014 visit to the United States.
Consistent with the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) nationwide grassroots campaign, the resolution further outlines a significant road map to a jump start in U.S.-India trade and strategic partnership, including an expedited White House appointment of a new American Ambassador to New Delhi.
USINPAC’s Legislative Team and the organization’s significant grassroots membership, who had participated in extensive Congressional outreach were delighted with the text of the resolution which was made public today.
USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri remarked: “I believe that the remarkable election in India and the transition to a new Government there has led the way to a re-energized US-India partnership. The United States Senate made history today since never before has a Senate Resolution asked for a Joint Session of Congress by a Foreign Head-of-State.”
USINPAC Director for US-India LNG Initiative Rahul Sreenivasan, pointed out: “We are proud to be Americans of Indian Heritage and we are looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the United States.”
USINPAC Grassroots Campaign makes history in July 2014
Washington, July 16, 2014: Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs) Hearing reviewed ways to jump start US-India bilateral relations. USINPAC activists who are spear-heading the organization’s grassroots campaign to schedule a Joint Session of Congress by Indian Prime Minister Modi are pleased with the discussions at today’s Hearing.
At USINPAC’s request, a House Foreign Affairs Committee (Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific) Hearing on the same subject matter is scheduled for July 31, 2014. USINPAC has provided extensive briefings to each of the Senate and House Committees, including a list of subject matter experts who can testify on US-India trade and security relations.
At USINPAC’s request, the House of Representative is circulating A “Dear Colleague Letter” initiated by Congressman Brad Sherman supporting the issuance of an invitation to Indian Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Session of Congress during his September visit to the United States. Also, at USINPAC’s request, a number of Congressmen have contacted Speaker Boehner directly supporting a Modi address to a Joint Session of Congress.
At USINPAC’s request, a significant Senate Resolution is under review by the Senate Caucus on India and Indian Americans resolving that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be able to address the United States Congress at the earliest opportunity. Since scheduling a Joint Session Address is the jurisdiction of John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representative, Senators reaching out to the Speaker with such a request would be the first such request in the history of the United States Senate.
USINPAC Leads Grassroots Effort for PM Modi to Address Joint Session of Congress during September US visit
Washington, June 23, 2014: The U.S. India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) announced today that momentum has been building on a State-by-State grassroots campaign for Congressional invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a Joint Session of Congress during his first US visit as a Head of State.
USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri remarked: “A Joint Session of Congress by Indian Prime Ministers follows well established precedence since former PM’s Rajiv Gandhi, Vajpayee, and Singh were accorded this honor. We are delighted about the support from Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for PM Modi to address a Joint Session of Congress in September.”
USINPAC activists and Chapter Leaders have actively reached out to their Members of Congress urging their support for such a Congressional invitation.
Dr. Prashant Patel, USINPAC North Carolina, commented: “I have urged support from Congressman George Holding (R-NC) and I know that he has submitted an official request to Speaker John Boehner for Mr. Modi to address a Joint Session of Congress in Washington DC. We applaud his unwavering leadership on an issue that is at the heart of such a vibrant Indian-American community not only in his home state of North Carolina but across these United States of America.”
Mr. Vinnie Rao, USINPAC Indiana, noted: “I have urged support from Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN) because this is the right step to jump start US-India trade and security relations.”
Mr. Aron Govil, USINPAC New York, stated: “I have urged support from Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) who is a longtime advocate for stronger US-India bilateral relations and I do believe that he will support a Congressional invitation for PM Modi to address a Joint Session of Congress.”
Indian Americans Strongly Support PM Modi’s Visit to the United States in September
Washington, June 05, 2014: Today, the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) greeted with great joy the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States, which is in quick succession to his inauguration on May 26, 2014 as the fifteenth Prime Minister of India.
The Prime Minister’s visit has been confirmed to take place in the last week of September 2014 with the exact itinerary still under discussion. The visit is being billed as a full blown bilateral dialogue with President Obama in Washington, DC rather than a meeting on the side line of the United Nations General Assembly Session in New York City.
USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri, commented: “We are thrilled about PM Modi’s first visit to the United States as a Head of State. We remain optimistic about the prospect of jump-starting bilateral dialogue on a number of issues that are of mutual concern to the two nations.”
USINPAC sets record straight about India at Congressional Hearing
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Congressman Faleomavaega weigh-in
Washington, DC, April 9 —USINPAC members continue to be very concerned about the facts and findings of the Tom Lantos Commission.
USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri stated, “The panel that was queried by house members on Friday chose to ignore the fact that not one Hindu voice was represented in this hearing and they continue to set forth misleading information about the plight of religious minorities in India.”
US Representative Eni F.H. Faleomavaega was concerned about the optics of such a hearing, “I question the Commission’s intent in holding a hearing about the rights and freedoms of religious minorities in India on the cusp of India’s general election.
Answering questions about the Lantos Hearing at a USINPAC event in Northern Virginia on Saturday, US Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI 2nd District) agreed with Representative Faleomavaega and said, “I attended the hearing to provide a balanced perspective (http://bit.ly/1lL7eEK). We speak so much about the shared democratic values with India and yet, this hearing disrespected this friendship. The timing and the focus of the hearing was blatantly directed at trying to influence and impact the India’s election. It is painful to me personally that people would use such a setting to try to incite and foment religious bigotry and sectarian strife against others. This is not the right place for the US Congress to be.”
Puri stated, “USINPAC is in agreement with Representative Faleomavaega, Tulsi and many others who have taken a stand against this hearing and House Resolution 417. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress on important issues that will be fast approaching with the Indian elections already in full swing this week and believe that Members of U.S. Congress should allow the people of India to decide their next Prime Minister.”
USINPAC welcomes the decision of Ambassador Powell to meet Narendra Modi
US embassy says it looks forward to working closely with next Indian government
13 Feb 2014; Washington D.C.: US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), the leading advocacy organization representing over 3 million Indian Americans in the US appreciated the meeting between US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. The meeting was part of the US Mission’s outreach to senior leaders of India’s major political parties in advance of the upcoming national elections. During her visit to Gujarat, Ambassador Powell is also scheduled to meet with representatives from non-governmental organizations and US and Indian businesses.
It may be noted that USINPAC in the month of December had successfully led a grassroots lobbying effort in Washington DC to stop H.R 417 from going to the House floor. The resolution intended to influence India’s upcoming elections by focusing on the 2002 Gujarat riots some 11 years after the fact, and was specifically targeted at Mr. Modi. His visa was revoked in 2005 under the provisions of a domestic law on the issue of “severe violations of religious freedom”.
USINPAC Chairman, Sanjay Puri, reacting positively to this meeting said, “With Mr. Modi emerging as the frontrunner for the prime minister’s post, the US could no longer continue with its policy of shunning the person against whom it had clamped a visa ban in the aftermath of the 2002 riots. So, this meeting between Ambassador Powell and Mr. Modi is definitely a step in the right direction.”
Setting the record straight about Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi
Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee Cong. Royce weighs in on H. Res. 417
08 Dec 2013; Washington DC.: On November 18, 2013, Congressman Joe Pitts and Congressman Frank Wolf introduced H. Res. 417, a Resolution intended to influence India’s upcoming elections by focusing on the 2002 Gujarat riots some 11 years after the fact.
USINPAC (US India Political Action Committee) has successfully led a grassroots lobbying effort in Washington DC to stop the above Resolution from going to the House Floor for a vote.
On December 7, 2013, less than one month after the Resolution’s introduction, Chairman Ed Royce of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to which H. Res. 417 was referred, issued a statement at USINPAC’s request:
“As Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am focused on the critically important relationship between the United States and India. Our two nations share many common values and strategic interests. India plays a central role in the Asia-Pacific region, and we must do our part to ensure that India is a centerpiece of America’s rebalance to Asia. H. Res. 417 weakens, rather than strengthens, the friendship between the U.S. and India. The resolution runs counter to all the hard work that the American people, particularly those in the Indian American community, have done to improve the relationship.”
On December 5, 2013, days before Chairman Royce released his statement, Chairman Steve Chabot of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, which has broad jurisdiction for U.S. policy affecting the region, withdrew his name as an original cosponsor of H. Res. 417.
On December 2, 2013, Ranking Member Eni Faleomavaega, the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, released a press statement commending USINPAC for working with key leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to correct the misinformation put forward by H. Res. 417.
As Ranking Member Faleomavaega noted, H. Res. 417 purports to praise India’s rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality while reaffirming the need to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities. However, rather than praising India, the Resolution focuses on the 2002 Gujarat riots some 11 years after the fact while failing to note that India’s Supreme Court has found no evidence against Mr. Modi.
From now until the elections in India, USINPAC will spare no effort in making sure the U.S. Congress does not intentionally or unintentionally influence the outcome of India’s upcoming elections. India is a sovereign nation and its citizens have a right to choose their leaders.
To read about Ranking Member Eni Faleomavaega’s recent announcement opposing this bill, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/HR417-oppose.
To read the Bill, please visit http://tinyurl.com/HR417-Text
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USINPAC Significant Achievements
The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is the voice of over 3.2 million Indian- Americans and works on issues that concern the community. It supports candidates for local, state and federal office and encourages political participation by the Indian- American community.
The United States- India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) was founded in 2002 by Democrat and Republican founding members to represent the voice of Indian American grassroots in Washington. USINPAC is the voice of over 3.2 million Indian- Americans and works on issues that concern the community. It supports candidates for local, state and federal office and encourages political participation by the Indian- American community. Over the last decade, USINPAC has a successful track record of educating lawmakers on a range of issues; supporting and opposing legislation independently as well as working with issue-based coalitions. USINPAC’s primary role is to serve as a resource for Indian Americans visiting Capitol Hill and a variety of Federal Agencies in addition to serving as a resource for lawmakers and their staff.
- Extensive political Support (campaign contributions, grassroots work) of candidates seeking elected office.
- Political fundraising for incumbent as well as challengers, particularly in Congressional Districts and States with large Indian American donors and grassroots constituency.
- Support to Democrat and Republican candidates who are aligned with the USINPAC political platform.
- Strong working relationship with US Congress:
- Senate and House Caucus on India and Indian Americans
- Individual Members of Congress in Congressional Districts and States with significant Indian American donors and grassroots constituency.
- Key Senate and House Committees, including Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committee.
- Legislative Work:
- Anti-Hate Crimes Legislation: Successfully advocated for passage of Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA), expansion of a 1968 law that allows federal prosecution for hate crimes. Hosted a round-table discussion on Hate Crimes in conjuncture with the Sikh Mediwaatch and Resource Task Force (SMART), The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and The Indian American Center for Public Awareness (IACPA). Hosted a briefing in conjecture with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Legal Immigration:
- Ongoing advocacy for expansion of orderly and expedited legal immigration of highly skilled workers, including expansion of the work visa such the H1-B visa program and study visa.
- Successful advocacy to suspend a Department of Homeland Security Special Registration Program that would have required special registration for Indian citizens in the United States and also for those seeking visas for entry into the United States from India.
- Ongoing promotion to solve the backlog in visa approval for Indians looking to travel and work in the United States.
- Successful advocacy for significant upgrade of US diplomatic staffing and funding in trade gateway cities in India, including a new U.S. Consul in Hyderabad, India.
- In the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, organized and hosted legislative briefings on Capitol Hill to update lawmakers and staff on the crisis in
India, which led to the passage of a resolution on the floor of the House of
- Launched an online petition that gathered over 16,000 signatures that would make U.S. aid to Pakistan conditional on cooperation and apprehension of the terrorist suspects of the Mumbai attack.
- Held several briefings informing lawmakers of the nature and severity of the threat of Jihadist terrorism crossing into India from Pakistan.
- Promoted humanitarian aid to Pakistan through U.S. based NGOs
- Successfully advocated the passage of a resolution on the floor of the House of Representatives condemning Pakistan for the first time for supporting terrorism in India in the states of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Successfully advocated the passage of resolution on the floor of the House of Representative requesting more information from both the CIA and Executive branch over the extent to which Pakistan is cooperating over its nuclear program and halting Islamic extremism.
- Successfully advocated for Congressional signatures of a “Dear Colleague” Letter co-signed by the then House India Caucus chairs, Ros Lehtinen and Gary Ackerman, which registered a strong protest against the sale of F-16s to Pakistan.
- Small Business:
- Participated in Congressional Hearings – providing expert testimony – as well as conduct informational briefings with the Senate and House Small Business committees.
- Hosted numerous small business technology conferences involving Indian American owned businesses as well as information briefings with Federal Agency Chief Information Officers on Federal budget priorities for information
- Global Health
- Organized a briefing on the US and Global Response to HIV/AIDS in India as part of the USINPAC AIDS India Initiative.
- Advocated for greater allocation of resources to fight HIV/AIDS including an increase in $29 million foreign aid funding to fight HIV in 2007.
- Submitted to the State Department a white paper outlining why fighting
HIV/AIDS in India should be a foreign policy priority for the United States.
- Between 2005 and 2010 USINPAC held annual briefings to raise awareness of the issue of lack of clean drinking water in India. USINPAC also provided expert testimonies in Congressional hearings on this subject.
- US-India Trade:
- Participated in Congressional Hearings – providing expert testimony – as well as conduct informational briefings with the Senate Foreign Affairs and House
Foreign Affairs Committees.
- Successfully advocated for re-instatement of favorable GSP tariff preferences for Indian jewelry.
- Annual US business delegation to India to meet with leading Indian politicians, businessmen, and newsmakers to foster exchange of ideas, communication of business culture, and forge closer business ties.
- US-India Civilian Nuclear Cooperation
- Participated in Congressional Hearings – providing expert testimony – as well as conduct informational briefings with the Senate Foreign Affairs and House
Foreign Affairs Committees.
- Conducted meetings with House leadership on the U.S.-Indian Nuclear deal including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Congressman Charlie Rangel and Congressman Chris Cannon.
- Conducted a briefing with the State Department officials including Assistant Secretary of State Nicholas Burns and Majority Leader Roy Blunt on Civilian Nuclear cooperation.
- Led an Indian American leadership delegation to India to discuss impasses and potential solutions to stalls in the nuclear deal. The delegation met with Indian politicians including Prime Minister, corporate heads as well as the U.S. ambassador to India in New Delhi.