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India's role in Afghanistan critical: Bera

June 09, 2013 13:41 IST

Fresh from his maiden trip to Afghanistan, Democratic Congressman Ami Bera, the only Indian-American lawmaker in the Congress, has said that India has a very critical role to play in peace and development in the war-torn country.

Bera, who is only the third ever Indian-American Congressman, said he is planning to visit India in the month of August, during which besides his other engagement he would also visit his parental village in Gujarat.

In an interview, Bera came out in strong support of India-US relationship, noting that it is his desire to see the two countries walking as partners.

The 48-year-old Democratic party Congressman from California, Bera recently made his maiden trip to Afghanistan, where he had firsthand experience of India's developmental activities.

"India has a critical role to play in the economic development of Afghanistan. I think India has a critical role in continuing the infrastructure development of Afghanistan," Bera said, adding that new Delhi has a role within the broader context of international community.

Observing that nobody wants to see the re-emergence of Taliban or terrorism, Bera said this is where India as part of international community can be a key leader in partnership with the United States and Afghanistan.

The tri-lateral relationship between the US, India and Afghanistan is important to help maintain stability, he noted.

Bera, who have been speaking about India-US relationship in the Congress, hoped that it would be further strengthened after Secretary of State John Kerry visits India for strategic dialogue later this month.

The Indian-American, who has impressed even his critics with his strong performance both inside and outside the Congress, said he hoped that the recently held elections in Pakistan and formation of the new government would help in improving relationship between India and Pakistan.

"It is India's interest. (Pakistan) Prime Minister (Nawaz) Sharif has indicated he would like to see increase trade between the (two) countries and I think this is something that the United State would foster," he said.

Uniquely placed on India-US relationship, given that he is an Indian-American, Bera said members from both the parties have increasingly been coming to him to get his advice and counsel, on this relationship.

His election to the US House of Representatives has encouraged several Indian-Americans across the country to run for elected offices, he said, hoping that in the next five-ten years there would be several Indian Americans in the Congress.

"My parents' generation can see pride in eyes that many of them would have said they would it was unlikely to see someone from their community get elected to the highest   levels in United States govt. They are proud to see that," he said.

"In the next generation you can see sparkle in their eyes that they can dream of being anything that they want to be. I can be a role model in that sense and go out and give it a try you can accomplish anything.

"That's when I talked about in the next 5 to 10 years seeing several members with congress fellow Indian American, I believe that. When I talk about seeing within the next decade Indian American US senator I believe that. And you are chance to accomplish in America anything is possible," Bera said.