Page 59 - IACC Newsletter August-September 2013 Issue 13

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Bilateral understanding to boost Indo-US ties: Bera
Ami Bera is the only Indian-American sitting in the US Congress today. A physician, he is consulted by the White House
on public health issues but he also has a passion for Indo-US relations. Representing a district in Northern California, he
is a member of the House of RepresentativesForeign Relations Committee and its subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
Bera, in India for a five day visit, spoke to Pramit Pal Chaudhuri of his desire to reinvigorate a flagging Indo-US strategic
partnership and how India Inc needs to hard-sell its contributions to the US economy.
On being an Indian-American:
My story begins with my parents who migrated from Gujarat to the US in the 1950s. There was always a strong sense of
family and community as I grew up. I believe I’ve been elected because I am an Indian-American who represents certain
values like a belief in education, hard work and family. These values are ones that have served Indians well, as they have
served me well.
On Indo-US relations:
My desire to become a member of the House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee is not merely
happenstance. I wanted to join because I wanted to make the Indo-US relationship stronger and deeper. The
relationship has plateaued a bit in recent times. I think that’s because both countries have become more inward-looking
thanks to domestic politics and economic problems.
The US is coming out of a recession – we still haven’t gotten out of the woods yet – so hopefully this will give us a new
opportunity to see how we can drive together.
On the US Congress and India:
People in the United States are fond of India and Indians are fond of Americans. It was one of the reasons despite the
fact that I ran in a district that had a population that was less than one percent Indian and less than 10% Asian – I was
still able to defeat a long-standing incumbent Republican.
I think every US congressman has an interest in India, but not all of them have a deep understanding of the country. The
Indo-US nuclear deal was a high point in the relationship because it brought together the Indian-American community
and so many congressmen.
The India Caucus remains the largest single-country caucus on Capitol Hill even now.
On India and the US working together on Afghanistan: