US Congressional delegation’s visit to India solidified bilateral ties: Indian Americans


The ongoing visit to India of a US Congressional delegation led by Indian American lawmaker Ro Khanna has further solidified deep ties and underscores a unique vision that can serve as a blueprint to advance the bilateral relationship, according to Indian Americans. The four-term Congressman representing Silicon Valley in the House of Representatives, Khanna on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and attended the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort on Tuesday where the prime minister hoisted the national flag.

During his trips to New Delhi and Mumbai, he has met leaders of the civic society, Bollywood superstars, including Amitabh Bachchan, and the opposition leaders. “I am happy that elected members of the US Congress are present here today on the occasion of our celebration,” Modi said in his Independence Day address. “I was honoured to visit Raj Ghat on India’s Independence Day to pay my respects to Mahatma Gandhi, one of the world’s greatest leaders. I also had the chance to lead our delegation at the Red Fort,” Khanna posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Glad to receive a Congressional delegation from the US, including co-chairs of India Caucus in the House of Representatives, Rep. Ro Khanna and Rep Michael Waltz,” Modi wrote on X after his meeting with the Congressional delegation.

Strong bipartisan support needed for a growing partnership


Modi said that strong bipartisan support from the US Congress was instrumental in further elevating India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. “Ro’s trip to India is historic. For the grandson of an Indian freedom fighter who fought alongside Gandhi and was even jailed with him – to return to his parents’ birthplace and lead a CODEL in his role as a Member of Congress is as beautiful as it is poignant,” said Ronak D Desai, a leading India practitioner at global law firm Paul Hastings LLP. “It is a remarkable story that is only possible in America. This fact is one that I suspect Ro thinks about often, and motivated his desire to become a public servant,” said Desai, also an expert at the Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard University.

Community leader Yogi Chug said the visit of the US delegation further solidified the deep bilateral relationship. “From Mumbai, Hyderabad, and New Delhi – whether it was with meeting Amitabh Bachan, Anupam Kher, corporate leaders, or their visit to Akshardham this further solidified the deep relationship,” he said. He said the visit was important as the people-to-people and cultural interactions will be needed for the growing US-India Partnership in the years ahead.

With Prime Minister Modi’s successful State Visit and the upcoming visit of President Joe Biden to India, the Congressional delegation led by US Congress India Caucus Chairs Ro Khanna (CA) and Michal Waltz (FL) could not have come at a better time, he said. “Many have described the US-India partnership as one of the most consequential partnerships of the 21st century. Equally exciting was that the Congressional delegation was invited and able to attend Modi’s August 15 address at Red Fort. This is significant that a delegation was accorded such honour and visibility,” Chug said.

“A good interaction with the US Congressional delegation today. Glad they could join as we celebrated Independence Day. Discussed the transformation underway in India, especially its outcomes of better governance,” External Affairs Minister Jaishankar posted on social media platform X. “Shared our aspirations and expectations for Amrit Kaal. Also exchanged views on our advancing bilateral partnership. Shared perspectives on the global situation and our collaboration on multilateral, regional and global issues,” he said.

From news reports, it appears the delegation accomplished much during its visit, which also included ministerial-level meetings with the Defence and External Affairs ministries and tours of Western Naval Command further amplifying the critical need for elevating the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. “This is an indication of the importance of the increased congressional engagements one will see in the years ahead. The India Caucus in the US Congress has the potential to play a critical role in this US objective and priority,” Chug said. “Ro Khanna has been a tireless champion of US-India relations for at least 20 years, well before he was elected to Congress. It is unsurprising that he has focused some of his efforts in the House over the past several years to lead the way in strengthening and advancing the bilateral relationship even further,” Desai said.

According to Desai, Ro’s delegation, in many ways, has been unlike any others that have visited India in the past. “While it included some traditional aspects, including meeting with the Prime Minister and EAM, it seems Ro really endeavoured to capture the full cultural richness and complexity of India through his meetings with Bollywood legends like Amitabh Bachchan and Anupam Kher, academics, and other civil society leaders. “It underscores a unique vision of US-India relations that can serve as a blueprint for both counties moving forward,” he said.

The Congressional delegation once again reaffirms one of the central, most important features of the US-India relationship – the nearly ironclad bipartisan consensus surrounding it, Desai said. It is one of the primary reasons the partnership continues to grow in leaps and bounds regardless of who is in power in Washington, he said. “Ro’s ability to work across the aisle is well reflected in the various bills he sponsored and have become laws. He’s predictably deploying those bipartisan credentials now in service of the bilateral relationship,” he said.