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NRIs gather to lobby for N-deal

A grassroots campaign will be launched for the approval of the Indo-US deal.

india Updated: May 07, 2006 13:07 IST

Indian-American community leaders from across the United States came down here to launch a "coordinated grassroots campaign" for the approval of the landmark Indo-US civilian nuclear deal which is pending before Congress.

"Beyond its symbolic significance, this gathering (of over 150 community leaders) served to launch a coordinated grassroots campaign" for the deal, Swadesh Chatterjee, a community leader and political activist from North Carolina, said in a statement.

"We all must be proud of what we accomplished.... However, let's be clear -- this is just the first step," Chatterjee, one of the founders of the US-India Friendship Council, said.

Indian-American leaders had a briefing at the White House by the top Presidential aide Karl Rove, a key political advisor to President George W Bush, and other senior administration officials.

The briefing was followed by a substantive policy discussion, jointly hosted by the US-India Friendship Council and US-India Business Council at the US Chamber of Commerce.

According to a statement, the information session featured Republican Senator John Cornyn, one of the founders of the Senate India Caucus, former US Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Pickering and former US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Rick Inderfurth.

The US-India Friendship Council also announced the launch of a Washington DC office.

"We have a huge task of informing our fellow Americans of all the ways in which this agreement benefits the United States. In order to do this, we must not only work hard, we must also work smart," said Ken Bajaj from Northern Virginia, one of the founders of the Council.

"That's why we have set up this office. It will be an 'information clearing house'. Through this office, Indian Americans will have a central place to pick up necessary information and to report progress, or problems, with their Congressional representatives," he said.

First Published: May 06, 2006 13:22 IST