No one needs to sit in judgement on India’s position on Ukraine”: US Congressman

“You are a secret weapon for economic growth,” Congressman Himes told the Indian American community, and called them “the future of US innovations.”

Nov 02, 2022
GOPIO-CT officials at the lighting of the lamp for Diwali Celebrations, From l. to r., Yelena Klompus of Stamford Public Library, GOPIO-CT Vice President Dr. Jaya Daptardar, Founding President Sangeeta Ahuja, President Ashok Nichani, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Secretary Prachi Narayan, Joint Secretary Mahesh Jhangiani and Treasurer Srinivas Akarapu

“The United States and India need to stand together as they are great democracies that stand for human values,” declared US Congressman Jim Himes, a Democrat representing the 4th district of Connecticut at a reception and Interactive Session  with GOPIO-CT members and supporters at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Stamford on October 28.

Stating that the Indo-US relationship is fundamental to the stability of the world, Himes referred to the compulsions that led to India’s response to Russia’s unilateral invasion of Ukraine. “We underrated the long-standing relationship India has had with Russia. We understand the constraints India faces. No one needs to sit in judgement on India’s position on Ukraine,”  Himes said.

While hoping that the war in Ukraine, which he just visited, ends soon, Himes pointed to how “Democracy is under threat today more than ever,” and he stressed the need for India and the United States need to “stand together to protect the democratic values.”

Describing India and the United States as “cousin democracies” Himes said, “The Democratic party leadership is in understanding of the critical need for strengthening the relationship between India and the United States. We are very supportive of the need to build on the India-US relationship,” he added.

Congressman Jim Himes (Connecticut 4th District) speaking at GOPIO-CT program in Stamford, CT
Congressman Jim Himes (Connecticut 4th District) speaking at GOPIO-CT program in Stamford, CT

On the issue of the long wait, sometimes nearly two years, to obtain an appointment for a visa interview in India,  Himes said, “We need to advocate with local representatives in every state to solve this backlog.” As Chairman of the House Committee overseeing the State Department, Himes suggested that the US State Department listen to Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. “You need to have them understand the long delay in visa interviews,” he said.

On the Green Card backlog, Himes said, attracting skilled laborers is “central to our economy.” 

Himes serves on the US Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, a forum in which Members of Congress address the issues central to the relationship with this important South Asian nation. By promoting dialogue on issues of interest to the Indian American community, the Caucus strives to strengthen bilateral relations between the United States and India, promote trade with India, enhance economic development in India and the United States, increase anti-terrorism cooperation.

Congressman Himes was all praise for the Indian American community. He referred to how he came to meet with a new entrepreneur of Indian origin in Bridgeport recently, who was setting up a large firm that will provide components for manufacturers of semiconductors that is in huge demand now. He also spoke about the contribution of the Indian American community for their contributions to creating a hub of tech innovation in Stamford, Connecticut. “The brains of tech innovations are here,” he said, while pointing to the Indian community.

While acknowledging that “We have so much to do on immigration” to enable these tech-savvy and entrepreneurial Indian American community to have a smoother and faster way to have Green Card and Job Visas, Himes, whose district has a fast-growing South Asian immigrant community, praised them for their contributions. “You are a secret weapon for economic growth,” Congresman Himes told the Indian American community, and called them “the future of US innovations.”

In his inaugural remarks, GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, said, “Every year, GOPIO-CT has had an interactive session with Rep. Jim Himes and other elected officials.” Dr. Thomas Abraham initiated the discussion by raising the “H1 and H4 visa issues and what needs to be done by the Biden Administration, especially for the need to clear the backlogs of pending Immigration numbers for our community.” 

During the interactive session among members of GOPIO, who raised concerns about the western media being anti-India, Ritu Johorey, Board Member of GOPIO-CT refuted the claim and stressed that the media was neither anti-India nor anti-Modi government, and only wrote about the realities in India and portraying what is happening in India today cannot be described as "anti-India".

The program started with a welcome by GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani who said that Rep. Himes is a great supporter of GOPIO-CT and the Indian American community.

Over the last 16 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policymakers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of the Indian diaspora through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.

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