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PRESS RELEASE - House India Caucus Welcomes Ambassador Nirupama Rao

December 1, 2011

The Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans (also known as the House India Caucus) led by its co-chairs, Congressman Ed Royce of California and Congressman Joe Crowley of New York welcomed Ambassador Nirupama Rao as India's new Ambassador in Washington at a packed reception in the Rayburn Building at Capitol Hill on December 1. The event was attended by a large number of U.S. lawmakers, administration officials, journalists, academics and prominent Indian Americans.  Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was present.

In his welcome remarks, Congressman Royce pledged that the House India Caucus would work with Ambassador Rao to help Americans better understand the many benefits that closer engagement with India brings to both nations. He added: “We want to have our closest relationship with those who share our values.”  India, he said, was just such a country. Congressman Crowley said that he was confident that the already-strong ties of the United States with India “will mature and will grow.”

Deputy Secretary Burns praised Ambassador Rao and the ever-improving relationship between India and the United States. He called the Ambassador “an extraordinarily gifted diplomat” and a “champion of Indo-American relations,” which, he said, was pivotal to maintaining a stable and economically sound world. He expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the House India Caucus, which he described as “one of the largest bipartisan caucuses in Congress.”

Ambassador Rao thanked the Caucus for its many years of work in advancing the cause of India-U.S. relations and of the Indian American community in the United States. “The House India Caucus has been a tremendous source of strength in promoting India-U.S. relations for almost two decades now,” she said. “It has done a commendable job in focusing public opinion and the attention of governments in both our countries on the importance of our partnership, even at a time when it was difficult to imagine that we would achieve the depth and the expanse of this relationship as we enjoy today.”

Many members of the House India Caucus, from both political parties, including Ranking Member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Congressman Howard Berman, and former chair of House India Caucus, Congressman Gary Ackerman attended the evening reception, which featured Indian food and began with the singing of the U.S. and the Indian national anthems by Ms. Riti Bhalla from New York.

The House India Caucus was founded in 1993. With a current membership of close to 150 lawmakers, it is among the largest caucuses of its kind in the U.S. Congress.

The reception of December 1 followed a similar welcome hosted by the Senate India Caucus for Ambassador Rao on November 29, 2011.