Indian Americans celebrate ‘historic’ India-US treatyOctober 2nd, 2008 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS
New York, Oct 2 (IANS) Indian American organisations and community leaders have called the US Senate’s final approval of the India-US civil nuclear agreement a “historic watershed” that will open up vast areas of cooperation between the two countries. Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC), USA, said in a statement that it “celebrates the historic agreement” and thanked the Indian community here for working hard to make the agreement a reality.
“It is victory for the people of both nations who are embarking on forging even a stronger relationship in the years ahead,” said George Abraham, INOC general secretary. He added that the agreement would pave the way for India to acquire the latest in nuclear technology and fuel, thereby assuring an energy future that is critical to India’s fast growing economy.
Sant Chatwal, hotelier and chairman of Indian Americans for Democrats group, told IANS that he was perhaps the first to give the “fantastic” news of the resounding 86-13 vote in favour of the deal in Senate to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from Washington, where he had gone for a Congressional hearing on the bill Wednesday.
To celebrate the deal, he was now expecting President George W. Bush to hold a reception in the White House for prominent Indian American leaders and supportive Congressmen even though the actual agreement will be signed in New Delhi when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits the Indian capital.
Thomas Abraham, chairman of GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin) International as well as a tech entrepreneur, said the treaty would open up cooperation between the two countries, their labs and scientists, not only in nuclear energy but also in other cutting edge areas like nano-technology, biotech and nano-biotech, where there were restrictions before.
“The 3.2 million strong Indian American community, already the second fastest growing community after the Mexicans, is set to grow further. After all, which other country besides India can supply so many qualified, English speaking technologists and IT people,” Abraham said.
He recalled that right from the initial stages of the nuclear agreement in 2005, GOPIO had been holding town hall style meetings to reach out to and influence elected officials in various constituencies even as other groups lobbied in Washington for the deal.
The US-India Business Council (USIBC) called the nuclear accord a “historic watershed” in India-US relations. It said in a statement that the accord holds massive scope for commercial opportunity between US and Indian companies, valued at over $150 billion over the next 30 years, spurring a revival of the nuclear power industries of both countries that will create as many as a quarter million high-tech US jobs for generations to come.
Sunil Adam, editor of the bimonthly magazine The Indian American, said: “Indian American community can take a little pride for doing a great job at lobbying for the deal with members of the Congress and using their money clout smartly and purposefully.”
(Parveen Chopra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)