Indian Americans welcome ‘historic’ n-deal (Lead)October 2nd, 2008 - 10:58 pm ICT by IANS
New York, Oct 2 (IANS) Indian American organisations and community leaders have hailed the US Senate’s final approval of the India-US civil nuclear agreement, calling it a “historic watershed” that will open up vast areas of cooperation between the two countries. Applauding Congressional ratification of the nuclear pact, the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) praised the Indian American community for working tirelessly for the past three years for the passage of the agreement.
“The efforts have included grassroot activism around the nation and working on a daily basis with members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill,” USINPAC said in a statement.
“It is great to see the fruition of our tireless efforts,” the statement said quoting USINPAC leader Sunil Puri, who worked closely on the issue with Senator Dick Durbin.
Ashok Mago, chairman of the US India Forum, showered praise on both President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for pushing the deal in their respective countries.
“No other US president has done for India what Bush has done - to bring India out of nuclear isolation,” Mago said in a statement.
Manmohan Singh deserves accolades because he risked his government to see the conclusion of the deal, he said, adding, “he will be remembered as the strongest leader India has had.”
The Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC), US, said in a statement it “celebrates the historic agreement”.
“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.
Thomas Abraham, chairman of Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International and 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.
Sant Chatwal, hotelier and chairman of the 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 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 Oct 4.
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: “The 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)