India Caucus, HAF Host Post-Election Briefing

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Washington, DC – The India Caucus (the House Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans) was joined by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) to bring together staffers from more than a dozen House and Senate offices, federal agencies, think tanks, and academia, in a briefing to provide the US lawmakers with an objective analysis of the recent Indian elections.

After 600 million people cast their ballots, the largest exercise in democracy was completed in India, with the incumbent government of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning a landslide victory.

At the “India’s Democracy in Action” briefing (June 7) on Capitol Hill, Suhag Shukla, HAF Executive Director opened the panel discussion by contrasting the political spectrum in India versus the United States, followed by a detailed analysis of the election results at both the national and state level.

“The Indian elections were a historic exercise in democracy that drew a record number of voters (over 600 million) and saw a diverse cross section of the electorate overwhelmingly support incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party,” said Shukla. “It’s critical that Prime Minister Modi use this convincing mandate to continue to pursue policies that promote inclusive growth, law and order, and good governance, while investing in education, infrastructure, and clean energy so that Indians of all backgrounds thrive,” she added.

Jeff Smith, Asian Studies Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, discussed the impact of the recent terror attack in Pulwama on the election and the growth of terrorism in the region more broadly. He also shared his analysis on the current and future state of US-India relations, as well as the importance of deepening the US-India strategic partnership.

HAF Director of Government Relations Jay Kansara moderated the discussion while Thelma John David, First Secretary Political, Embassy of India also participated.

Summing up the proceedings, Taniel Koushakjian, HAF’s Director of Public Policy told the audience: “This briefing went a long way towards promoting a better understanding of India’s elections and democracy, and the enormous potential of US-India relations … We’re thankful to the India Caucus for co-hosting the event, especially Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Congressman George Holding (R-NC), as well as Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and for their leadership on issues impacting the Hindu American community.”

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