Indian-American lawmaker says â€œdiaspora can play such an important role in helping strengthen the US-India partnershipâ€
Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, a Democrat who represents Silicon valley has been elected as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans with Republican House colleague Mike Waltz.
Republican Andy Barr and Democrat Marc Veasey will serve as vice co-chairs of the caucus, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers committed to strengthening the relationship between the United States and India. Brad Sherman, a Democrat who formerly served as chair, will serve as chair emeritus.
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Khanna, 46, was earlier named the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems (CITI) and a member of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.
“The Indian-American diaspora can play such an important role in helping strengthen the US-India partnership. I think this is a historic moment for our community. I think we’re really emerging and coming into our own as a strong voice,” Khanna, told NBC News.
Prior to Khanna, 46, Congressman Ami Bera was the first Indian-American to be elected as the co-chair of the Caucus in 2015-2016 during the 115th Congress.
“I’m going to try to make it about not just us India, but also the Indian-American community and highlighting the contributions of that community,” Khanna told NBC News.
In the new Congress, the members will continue working to strengthen partnerships between policy makers and the Indian American diaspora communities and reduce Indiaâ€™s reliance on Russian defense systems, Khanna stated.
â€œA strong relationship with India is critical for our economy and national security,â€ he said. â€œIt is an honor to serve alongside my colleague Rep. Waltz as co-chair of the India Caucus.
â€œServing in this role is especially meaningful to me as one of the first Indian Americans to lead the caucus as well as the only representative of an Asian American majority district in the continental United States,â€ Khanna added.
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â€œIndia is the worldâ€™s largest democracy and an important strategic partner for the United States,â€ said Waltz.
â€œThatâ€™s why Iâ€™m honored to serve as the Co-Chair of the House India Caucus this Congress to ensure we continue this partnership, strengthen political, economic, and security ties between our two countries, and protect democracies in Asia and worldwide.â€
â€œThere is no one more fitting that I could pass the torch of chairing this important Caucus to than Congressman Ro Khanna, along with Congressman Mike Waltz as Co-Chair – both stalwart advocates for the US-India relationship, said Sherman.
â€œI will continue on as Chair Emeritus and look forward to the work ahead of building upon this vital partnership and securing future prosperity between the United States, the worldâ€™s oldest continuous democracy, and India, the worldâ€™s largest democracy,â€ he added.
â€œIn the digital age, America is facing new threats to its national security, and it is critical that we have a vision for the 21st century,â€ Khanna stated on his appointment to two House committees.
â€œAs the representative from Silicon Valley, I understand the nature of the struggle we face,â€ he stated. â€œOur adversaries are making advances in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence for their defense systems and have the potential to unleash cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure.â€
â€œIn planning for the future of defense, our emerging and commercial technologies must be at the forefront,â€ Khanna stated. â€œOne of my goals on this committee will be to strengthen the bridge between Silicon Valley and the Department of Defense, making it easier for DoD to acquire commercial technology.â€
â€œWe will look at how startups can overcome the â€˜Valley of Deathâ€™ and what we can do to make sure America and our defense has the top technologies to keep us a global leader,â€ he stated.
â€œAs we begin this work, I will remain guided by progressive values, a strong sense of patriotism, and a desire to see the United States restored as a moral and technological leader in the eyes of Americans and people around the world,â€ Khanna added.
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