Twenty-seven US lawmakers are travelling to India next week in two separate groups for a visit that officials say reflects a growing interest in India.
The bipartisan group of 19 members of the House of Representatives is being taken there by the Aspen Institute, a think tank, and another bipartisan group of eight led by the House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte will be travelling on their own.
Aspen took a larger delegation of 21 lawmakers to India three years ago, but together with the second delegation of eight others, this will be the largest group of US Congressmen in India at the same time together.
At an event in Capitol Hill earlier this week, Indian ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna described the upcoming visit “as a very important milestone and demonstrative of the high degree of interest in India, and the strong bipartisan support for the India-US relationship, based on shared democratic values and converging strategic interests”.
The Aspen visit had been in planning for months and the second one came together in recent days. “This is actually a good time for a visit because Congress goes into recess after a busy opening session,” an official said. “We are always keen to have them visit India and see things for themselves,” he added.
Both delegations will start their respective visits to India from Delhi on February 20. They are expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ministers and officials, the schedules for which are being worked out.
The Goodlatte delegation will leave Delhi for Bangalore with their focus on IT and immigration.
The Aspen group of 19 lawmakers will also visit Hyderabad for two days.