Rao urges Indian Americans to lobby on immigration bill

Indian IT “cheerleaders of relationship” between US and India, says ambassador.

By the American Bazaar Staff

VIENNA, VA: The outgoing Indian Ambassador to the United States, Nirupama Rao, has urged the Indian American community to continue to use its clout to advance India’s interest in the United States.

The Indian Ambassador to the United States, Nirupama Rao, gives a farewell speech in Vienna, VA. (Photo: Priya Easwar)

The envoy was speaking at a farewell reception hosted by the community, under the banner of National Council of Asian Indian Associations (NCAIA, Inc.), in McLean, VA, Friday evening. “The Indian American community is a pillar of strength as far as this relationship is concerned,” she said, pointing out the role it played in making the India-US civil nuclear deal a reality.

Raid said one issue where the community needs to “represent India as effective ambassadors” is the comprehensive immigration reform bill. Referring to the bill passed by the US Senate, the ambassador said the Indian IT industry—whom she described as “cheerleaders of the relationship”—would be the one most negatively affected if it is enacted.

“There are aspects of that bill which concern the growth of business ties between India and the United States,” she said. “There are sections of that bill that would adversely affect the business prospects of Indian companies here in the United States.”

During her 22-minute speech, Rao also highlighted the progress made by the two sides on a variety of fronts, as a result of the ongoing strategic dialogue between them.

A proclamation from the State of Maryland was presented to Rao.
Organizers present a plaque to Rao. (Photo: Priya Easwar)

“I would request all of you to declare your faith in this relationship,” the ambassador said. “Very often people say, ‘You know, the civil nuclear deal happened, what’s happened after that?’ The relationship is not about just scaling certain zeniths, or new heights. It is about making sure that there are no pitfalls, no complications.”

The ambassador added that while the civil nuclear deal signed in 2008 “represented … a very historic milestone, a great watershed in the relationship,” a whole lot has been accomplished in areas such defense, education, homeland security and energy since then.
“[Since the conclusion of the nuclear deal], we have silently been revolutionizing the landscape of the India-US relations,” Rao said. “Mark my words: we have been busy, we have been very busy, very absorbed, very occupied with the task of furthering this strategic dialogue between our two countries.”

A number of community leaders spoke on the occasion: Parthasarathi Pillai, Sambhu Banik, Sunny Wycliffe and Sunil Singh, praised the veteran diplomat.

“In every possible way she did more than that was expected of her,” said Wycliffe.
Delegate Sam Arora read out a proclamation from the State of Maryland, lauding the contribution of Rao in furthering Indo-US relations.

Rao, the 22nd ambassador of India in the United States, demits office this week. She will be succeeded by S. Jaishankar, who is India’s ambassador in Beijing at the moment.

To contact the author, email to editor@americanbazaaronline.com

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