Trump has continued with Obama’s India policy: Congressman

Washington: President Donald Trump has continued with the India policy of his predecessor Barack Obama and the support for the Indo-US relationship transcends political parties here, an influential Indian-American lawmaker has said.

“I think that his India policy so far has been somewhat of a continuation of what President Barack Obama did and, before President Obama, what President Bush had done,” Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, a vocal critic of the foreign policy of Trump, said.

Noting that the continuity shown by Trump on the Indo-US relationship was a good thing, he said the current US administration sees India as an important counterweight to the influence of China in the region.

Krishnamoorthi, who just returned from a short trip to India during which he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said, “I think that whatever we can do in the US Congress and here in America to basically, as I said, make sure that Asia remains a stable and economically prosperous place. We have to do that.”

“US-India relationship is a special partnership, so we have to do everything we can to enhance this partnership and to make sure that the great progress that we’ve already seen continues and that it remains mutually beneficial to both countries. I personally believe that it will continue to do so,” he told PTI.

Krishnamoorthi said he had a wide ranging talk with the prime minister.

“It was a formal meeting where we talked everything from, ‘How do we strengthen our relationship between the US and India’ to the fact that the relationship really transcends political parties at this point, really, on both sides, but especially here in the US,” he said on his return from his maiden India trip as a US lawmaker.

New Delhi-born Krishnamoorthi, 44, this year was sworn in as a member of the US House of Representatives.

“I think that both Republic and Democratic administrations have now successfully continued to build the relationship across a range of sectors,” he said.

“Everything from our security partnership to expanding commercial ties, to bolstering our cultural exchanges and so forth. That’s a very positive development, and I told him that I was committed to doing everything I could to continue that work in the US Congress,” he said.

“I also mentioned to him (prime minister Modi) that the relationship is broadening, deepening, and growing across a number of areas and, just as India is keen to attract US investment, we in the United States are very keen to attract Indian investment, especially in places like my own fine congressional district in the Chicago area,” Krishnamoorthi said.

He said the recently implemented Goods and Services Tax (GST) would help American companies in a big way.

“One thing that we talked about is the implementation of the new GST in India and how I think that that’s going to help American companies do business in India, how it will help us to export more goods to India, but also how it will really help all Indians as well. I think that was a topic that was one where we agreed that a simplified tax system is really the best way to go,” he said.

Krishnamoorthi said US lawmakers are keen to develop closer ties between the two countries in the area of security partnership.

“We want to make sure that we do everything we can to enhance our security coordination, counter terrorism efforts, ways that we can also, quite frankly, ensure that certain parts of the region in Asia remain, open for trade, open for democracy to flourish, open for our way of life to succeed,” he said.

During his meeting with Modi, Krishnamoorthi said he urged the prime minister to visit the Chicago area.

“I extended an invitation to him to come to Chicago and I’ll be very honest, I was somewhat selfish and said, ‘Please visit my congressional district, as well’. So we’ll see. He told me that he’s definitely very interested in coming to Chicago, so I’m hoping that happens in the near future,” he said.

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