N-deal redefines bilateral ties: NRI lobby | india | Hindustan Times
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N-deal redefines bilateral ties: NRI lobby

The US-India Friendship Council says Indo-US nuke deal has redefined bilateral relations for posterity.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2006 22:47 IST

The US-India Friendship Council, a coalition of prominent Indian American individuals and associations, has hailed the approval of the India-US civil nuclear deal saying it has redefined bilateral relations for posterity.

"Today, I am so proud to be an Indian American because I believe the ratification of this agreement marks the political coming of age for our community," said Swadesh Chatterjee, co-founder of the body that lobbied senators and House members for the deal.

"Together, we have redefined for posterity US-India relations. Our efforts are proof that if the Indian American community is united we can have a major impact on American politics," he said.

"The advocacy campaign waged by the Indian American community in support of this legislation was a major force," commented Raymond Vickery representing the US-India Business Council, an arm of the US Chamber of Commerce.

"The bottom line is that, without the effort of Americans of Indian descent, this bill would not have passed, " he said.

Over the last several months, the US-India Friendship Council has implemented a systematic and focused national lobbying effort to convince lawmakers that this deal is good and essential for America, the council stated.

This campaign included an Indian American "Walk on Capitol Hill", meetings and receptions with Members of Congress, grassroots advocacy involving sign-on letters and telephone calls, advertisements in prominent newspapers, and working hand-in-hand with other well-known interest groups, including the US-India Business Council and the American Jewish Committee, to maximise its impact.

The Council lobbied key Senators and House members to ensure that the bill was brought for a vote and ratified during the lame-duck session of the 109th Congress.

The coalition put together by the US-India Friendship Council includes, among others, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), the organisation of Indian Institutes of Technology alumni in the US - PANIIT, the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), the Indian American Forum for Political Education (IAFPE) and the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA).