CONGRESSIONAL INDIA CAUCUS


Democratic Co-chair Joseph Crowley says:

  Bush administration positively engaged with India
  Military equipment & dual use commercial products offer good scope to enhance trade
  Insourcing by Indian companies overlooked

DURING his current term the Bush administration has been positively engaged with India but on a global scale "I find it unfortunate that India is the only expansion of Clinton policy the Bush  administration has followed through with", says Mr. Jospeh Crowley, Democratic Co-chair of the Congressional India Caucus in an interview with Amitabha Sen. Referring to the "tremendous support" the US received from India post 9/11, he said the spin-off effect of such support could be seen in increased military-to-military trainning exercises. "Developing these relationships builds trust and understanding that cannot be overlooked." On the prospects of bilateral trade Mr. Crowley finds immense potential in military equipment as well as dual use commercial products. On outsourcing he said: "What you are not seeing is Indian companies investing in the United States, such as Mahindra, Tata, Infosys and others, as well as the potential for companies, both Indian and Americans to serve a growing middle class in India."  

AS: How would you like to assess the Indo-US relations during the Bush regime?

JC: Generally, I think the Bush administration has been positively engaged with India over the past four years. However, on a more global scale, I find it unfortunate that India is the only expansion of Clinton policy the Bush administration has followed through with. If the Bush administration continued with some of the Clinton policies we might not find ourselves in so many precarious positions like we see with just one example of North Korea.

AS: Post 9/11 India's immediate response to the US call to join the war against terrorism had brought significant transformation in the relationship between these two countries. What spin-off effects of such decision of the Indian government you had expected of the US Administration and where they are today?

JC:
The support the US has received from India has been tremendous. Some of the spin off effect as you have referred to it can be seen with the increased military to military training exercises. We had the first ever air force exercises as well as naval ground and Special Forces exercises. Developing these relationships builds trust and understanding that cannot be overlooked.

AS: One important decision that both the countries took is to re-energize the bilateral Economic Dialgoue agreed upon by President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee in 2001. The Indo-US bilateral trade has increased substantially with the balance in favour of India. Could you suggest steps that both the countries should take to raise it to a greater level?

JC:
I think trade in military equipment as well as dual use commercial products can help to give an advantage to the US. From speaking with Indian officials I know the interest exists to purchase many of these products. As the US and India continue to forge closer ties I believe these sales will start to begin.

AS: Could you tell us the areas where Indian Americans can help  effectively and meaningfully towards building up a stronger India, particularly in the fields trade and economy and eradication of poverty?

JC:
As you know I am the Co-chair of the Caucus on India and Indian Americans. Sometimes people forget that second part but the Indian American community has been tremendous in their support of their homeland. My experience with the community is that besides building schools and sending money back they are also working with the Indian government to enhance India's economy through the knowledge and skills they've learned abroad.

AS: The recent controversy over 'outsourcing' to India is seen by many as a temporary political hue and cry as most of the US corporations are to substantially cut costs in order to survive, grow and expand in coming years and outsourcing can be one such effective cost-cutting measures.

What do you feel about the prospect of BPO so far as India is concerned? Is it a real threat to Indian IT industry or it's the other way round?


JC: I believe that what you have seen is a political reaction in the United States to the close to 3,000,000 jobs lost in the last four years of the Bush presidency. Right now what you are seeing is American companies looking to India for outsourcing. What you are not seeing is Indian companies investing in the United States, such as Mahindra, Tata, Infosys and others, as well as the potential for companies, both Indian and Americans to serve a growing middle class in India. A company like GE may have a substantial presence in India to serve the US market, but in 10-15 years time this investment could be predominantly serving the Indian market.

AS:
What is view on Kashmir issue?

JC: Kashmir has been an ongoing problem that needs to find a resolution. Too many people have lost their lives over this conflict. But I must say that I strongly believe before any agreement can be reached Pakistan must end all official or unofficial support of terrorist activity in Kashmir. Peace cannot be achieved while one of the peacemakers continues to undermine negotiations through support of terrorism.

AS:
Could you identify areas and suggest political steps that may in effect strengthen further the Indo-US understanding wiping out whatever hesitancy or misgivings still might be affecting the bilateral relationship of these two Democracies?

JC:
I don't think I can point out any specific areas but I strongly encourage increased dialogue between our two nations. As long as our two nations continue high level talks I believe any misgiving can be resolved.

AS: The US government is yet to take a clear stand on India's demand for Security Council membership. On the other hand India is asked to sign NNPT without officially recognizing the country as a nuclear power. Your views please.

JC:
I strongly support India's bid to become a member of the UN Security Council. In fact I am a co-sponsor of a bill in Congress supporting India's accession to the council. I know official US policy has been not to endorse any one country but I believe that India is a strong candidate.

AS: Assuming President Bush is voted back to power again, what strategy you would be expecting from his government in terms of strengthening both political and economic relations with India further?


JC:
If the President is reelected I believe his administration will continue on the path that President Clinton lead on continued engagement with India.

AS: In case the Democrat candidate wins over, would you be expecting any dramatic change in Indo-US relationship?

JC: I don't expect to see any dramatic changes. Senator Kerry has a strong understanding of foreign policy and the importance of India as a strong ally.


October 16, 2004


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