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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

67 US lawmakers show up at Hill reception for new Indian ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla

In a ringing bipartisan and continued endorsement of ties with India, 67 US lawmakers, both senators and member of the House of Representatives, joined a reception on Capitol Hill Thursday to welcome the new Indian ambassador, Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

world Updated: Feb 08, 2019 21:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
The new Indian ambassador, Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
The new Indian ambassador, Harsh Vardhan Shringla.(Photo: Facebook/ IndiaInUSA)
         

In a ringing bipartisan and continued endorsement of ties with India, 67 US lawmakers, both senators and member of the House of Representatives, joined a reception on Capitol Hill Thursday to welcome the new Indian ambassador, Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Among them were the leaders of the Senate and House India caucuses John Cornyn (Republican), Mark Warner (Democrat), Michael Holding (R) and Brad Sherman (D), Indian Americans Raja Krishnamurthy (D), Pramila Jayapal (D) and Ro Khanna (D), and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D), the first Hindu in US congress and now a presidential hopeful.

Numbers matter on the Hill. And 67 is a significant turnout, and one that drew comparison with the attendance at event about Israel, whose legendary clout in the United States and among lawmakers is general taken to be the gold standard. “We are on out way,” said an Indian diplomat with a sense of satisfaction.

Shringla took office earlier in January presented his credentials o President Donald Trump soon after, no mean feat as ambassadors are known to take while, some times months, to get to that stage. And now a grand reception on the Hill, which is home to US congress.

They arrived in groups or solo, sometimes accompanied by their Indian American constituents, spoke briefly, hung around posing for pictures and selfies and left. Senator Cornyn, who founded the senate India Caucus in 2004, roping in then Democratic senator Hillary Clinton as co-chair, recalled how he has had string of co-chairs since. Warner has been Cornyn’s co-hair for some years now..

“You need only look around this room to see the enthusiasm of your constituents who have flown in from all parts of the United States to be with us here today,” Ambassador Shringla said, in a nod to the buzz and excitement in the room. “It is no co-incidence that the bi-partisan India Caucus is the largest country specific Caucus on the Hill.”

The ambassador went on to detail, briefly, the growing trade, defense and diplomatic ties between the two countries and the unstinting support from the two caucuses and the role they have played — from the passage of the civil nuclear agreement to the codification of the designation of India as a Major Defense Partner.

“I am confident that with your continued support, we will realize the immense potential of this relationship which promises to be a defining one for the 21st century,” Shringla said in conclusion.

First Published: Feb 08, 2019 21:47 IST