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Focus should be on future ties: Indian-Americans

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | October 05, 2008 17:42 IST
Last Updated: October 05, 2008 17:43 IST

With President George W Bush [Images] set to sign on Wednesday the bill on Indo-US nuclear deal into law, the Indian-American community feels the focus now should be on using the current framework for the future development of bilateral ties, including creating opportunities for businesses, NGOs and government entities.

"Our goal to bring India out of nuclear technology isolation will be completed on Wednesday, October 8th, when President Bush will sign HR 7081, United States-India Nuclear Cooperation approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act," Ashok Mago, Chairman of the Dallas-Based USINDIA FORUM, said.

But, he said in a statement, this is not the end but beginning of creating opportunities for people of two nations to complement each other's strengths in various fields.

"We look forward to providing platform not only for businesses but also to NGOs and government entities from India to exchange ideas and do business with organisations in USA, particularly in Texas," said Mago, whose organisation has played a pivotal role in pushing the nuclear deal over the last three years.

Texas, a state which ranks number one in exports, 'is home not only to the largest number of fortune 500 companies but also to Padma Vibhushan recipient Norman Bourlaugh, father of green revolution, and vibrant American Indian community," said Mago, also Founding Chairman of the Greater Dallas Indo-American Chamber -- an economic body striving to support and encourage needs of business houses out of India.

His statement came as Bush is all set for the signing ceremony of HR 7081 legislation into law on Wednesday afternoon at the Treaty Room of the White House.

There is a feeling, including within the Indian American community, that one reason why the White House had the time lag between Congressional passage and the actual signing of the Bill into law had to do with the simple fact of organising an event in which the major contributions of several key players, including from the community, are recognised.

And one thinking has been that key officials along with diplomats who were in India for the visit of the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images] would be back in Washington by Monday night or early Tuesday and hence the Wednesday scheduling for the signing.

Apparently Bush was keen on doing this signing ceremony in the same way as he had done at a function at the White House at the time of signing the Henry Hyde Act in December 2006.

In fact as late as Friday morning in response to queries from Indian-American community leaders, the White House position was "We don't have the Bill yet but with the reassurance that an invite would be sent out as soon as we do".

Indian American Community leaders like Mago, who normally at this part of the time expect to get the invitation for Diwali celebrations at the White House, are expected to make two trip this time around.

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