Welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a reception jointly organised by the House and Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and the India Caucus in Washington on Wednesday, Congressman Eliot Engel said Congressman Joseph Crowley and he had on 2 June introduced a Bill to designate India as a 'Special Global Partner of the United States'.
''This is a new and unique status for the relationship that must continue to thrive. If we think long term or working to meet day to day challenges, then this relationship will help both our countries become stronger and more prosperous, and would become one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. I am proud of this legislation and I hope the Congress passes it as quickly as possible,'' said Engel, while speaking at Cannon Caucus Room at the Cannon House Office Building.
Underscoring the importance of people-to-people ties between the two nations, Congressman Engel said, ''The challenges our countries are facing together cuts across sectors and at the heart of the friendship is our people to people ties, especially the great Indian-American community in the United States.
''That community has brought such an incredible energy to this relationship. It's a secret weapon for both countries driving strong engagement and helping keep things on track during challenging times. So, Mr Prime Minister your visit will energise this work even further and I am confident that the Congress remains focussed on India as an anchor of stability in the region and a key American partner in Asia.''
Recounting the foundation of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans 22 years back, he said, ''Twenty-two years since several of my colleagues and I found the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans. That time, the ties between our countries weren't that close as they are now.
''Yes, we were both democracies, yes we both embraced the important example set by Mahatma Gandhi, but frankly our relationships had more irritants than areas of agreements. So, the fact that they were all here a day shows how far the United States and India have come thanks to the hard works of dedicated leaders of both our countries. We are now standing soldier to soldier in ways that no one could have imagined a generation ago.''
He added, ''Just look at the nuclear issue, once it was one of the biggest stumbling blocks, between our countries, it's now a cornerstone of the renewed US-India partnership and I am proud that I was the first member of the Congress to approve the US-India nuclear partnership.''