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India an important strategic partner of US: Ami Bera

November 20, 2012 10:15 IST

California-based physician Ami Bera, the third Indian American to get elected to the United States House of Representatives, has termed India as an important strategic partner of the US.

"I traveled to India. India is the world's largest democracy and one of the world's largest economies. It is an important strategic partner to the US and the two countries have a history of collaboration on many regional and global issues," the Congressman-elect told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.

Bera asserted that New Delhi should continue with its strategic partnership with Washington and the country should remain a market destination for US goods and services.

On the state of affairs in his own country and the debate over outsourcing of jobs to countries like India, Bera said lawmakers in Congress must first focus on rebuilding America, restoring its economic foundation and sparking the development of industries and good jobs that are not easily outsourced.

"Next, we must strengthen our workforce, and eliminate tax loopholes that reward companies for sending jobs overseas. Most critically, we must revamp our trade strategy. We need trade rules that help facilitate moving American products into new markets, creating jobs here. If done correctly, strengthening our trade relationship with India will create jobs here in America," he said.

Bera is only the third Indian-American to have been elected to the US House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saundh in 1950 and Bobby Jindal in 2005.

Although the final results of the November 6 elections have not been officially declared yet, his Republican opponent Dan Lungren has already conceded his defeat.

As poll officials continued counting of provisional and absentee ballots, his lead by Monday had increased to 6,558.

He now has polled 51.25 per cent of the votes as against Lungren's 48.75 per cent.

Election officials decide to count the provision, postal and absentee ballots after his lead was less than 200 votes on the election night.

"It's a special privilege to be a part of the most diverse Congress ever elected. I think it's wonderful that the House of Representatives is going to look a little more like rest of the US, and I hope our campaign can serve as an inspiration for many more Indian-Americans and people of all backgrounds to get involved at all levels of government," he said.

Besides Bera, whose parents immigrated from India in the 1950s, five other Indian-Americans were in the race for a seat in the House of Representatives, but none of them could finally make it.

They were Ricky Gill and Jack Uppal from California, Syed Taj from Michigan, Manan Trivedi from Pennsylvania and Upendra Chivukula from New Jersey.

Except for Gill who represents the Republican Party, the other five candidates were from the Democratic Party.

Lalit K Jha
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