India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont
Taking Indian American voices to the hill
On April 27th, Indian American delegates from all over the United States gathered at Capitol Hill for the Capitol Hill Advocacy Day organized by the Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS). The purpose of this event was to raise policy matters and engage in discussions with more than 75 House representatives and their staff. The delegates aimed to provide a voice for the 4.5 million Indian Americans who contribute to various fields but lack sufficient influence on policy matters.
Khanderao Kand, Founding Director of FIIDS, said their aim was to focus on three critical issues: immigration, US-India relations, and religious phobia.
“We strongly advocated for the abolition of country-wise limits on employment-based permanent residency to create a fairer immigration system. To counter China’s dominance, we emphasized the importance of unblocking, supporting, and accelerating the Initiative of Critical and Emerging Technology (ICET).”
FIIDS also called for the expansion of the Indo-Pacific QUAD to include regional countries, addressing security concerns about the security of Taiwan, and the Indo-Pacific region.
Kand stated that they also raised concerns about religious phobia faced by faiths of Indian origin and proposed measures such as a congressional resolution on religious phobia.”
The US-India Alliance
Congressmen Evans Dwight, Andy Bigg, and Josh Harder met with delegates to discuss India’s alliance with the United States. The delegates expressed support for the backlog reduction act introduced by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi.
The day concluded with a reception celebrating The US-India Partnership. House members, their staff, diplomats, think tank experts, officials, and delegates attended. The event was supported by the American Jewish Community (AJC), Congressman Andy Barr, and Dr. Suvas Desai. Jason Isaacson, Chief Policy & Political Affairs Officer of AJC, said I2U2 was an optimal platform for fostering U.S.-India cooperation in promoting peace, prosperity, and growth in the Middle East.
A pioneering role
Nancy Izzo Jackson, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS), highlighted the positive role of the QUAD in addressing pressing regional issues and the Indo-Pacific partnership on maritime domain awareness. She also mentioned projects, such as food security and addressing climate change through green technology advancements, within the I2U2 framework.
India’s ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Singh Sandhu said the Indian diaspora and U.S. Congress have played a “pioneering role” in strengthening the relationship between the two countries.
Nadav Zysblat, Israeli Minister-Counselor (Political), highlighted opportunities for Jewish and Indian-American entrepreneurs to invest in joint Cleantech and Greentech initiatives. between the U.S., Israel, UAE, and India. Nissim B Reuben, AJC’s Assistant Director emphasized the potential of each community to join forces in both domestic and international arenas.
Mukesh Aghi, CEO and President of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum emphasized trade for economic prosperity in India and technology partnership to reduce dependency on Russia. Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), elaborated on the US-India partnership in drug control.
Parise for the Indian American diaspora
Several House representatives praised the Indian diaspora for cementing U.S.-India relations. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi attributed the strength of the U.S.-India partnership to Indian Americans. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney emphasized the long-standing alliance and trading partnership between America and India. Congresswoman Barbara Lee visited the reception, interacted with delegates, especially those from California and encouraged them to be active in advocacy.
Congressman Glenn Grothman expressed concerns raised by Indian Americans about college admissions and advocated for education system reform. Congressman Dan Mauser praised Indian President Droupadi Murmu’s statement calling Russia’s actions unacceptable and expressed his support for a strong US-India partnership. Congressman Mike Collins assured the Indian American community of his availability as a problem solver.
Congressman David Schweikert, a frequent visitor to India, pledged his unwavering support for a strong U.S.-India partnership. Dr. Rich McCormick said that Indian Americans were an influential demographic in shaping the future of American politics and presidential elections.
An immigrant success story
Based on his own immigrant story of struggle to success, Congressman Thanedar offered full support to solve immigration-related issues. Congressman Ro Khanna commended the Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) for their effective advocacy. He said it was beneficial for the community and contributes to the prosperity and strength of the United States of America.