A group of Indian MPs underwent a crash course at the prestigious Yale University of the United States, which was specially tailored for them incorporating issues like global economic governance, counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan and political developments in the Middle East.
During the six-day course on the university campus, the 11-member Parliamentary delegation headed by Biju Janata Dal's Baijayant "Jay" Panda participated in discussions with Yale faculty on global economic governance, US economy, corruption in government, counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear programme and political and economic developments in China.
Other topics that dominated the discussions were political developments in the Arab world, US Presidential elections, economic and political crises in the Eurozone and higher education in India.
There were also sessions on challenges of leadership, strategy, negotiation and applied game theory.
The India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme was launched in 2007. In total, more than 70 members of India's Parliament will have participated since it was created.
After completing the course which was organised by the university in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians, the MPs arrived on Wednesday and met Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, former US Ambassador Tim Roemer and ex-top American diplomat John Negroponte.
"I see a dramatic" change in mood in the US against Pakistan, Panda, Chairman of the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians, said following the day-long meetings with government officials and think tanks.
"In the US there are lawmakers who are no longer willing to be as tolerant as the US has been in the past," he said.
Over the next two days, the delegation is scheduled to meet lawmakers, and hold meetings at Pentagon and White House.
Burns, according to a State Department spokesperson, "underscored the importance of the US-India bilateral relationship and discussed successful outcomes from the recent US-India Strategic Dialogue. He reiterated the continuing and growing importance of India-US relations."
During the meetings with the US officials, "there were concerns in many ways that the reform process in India has really slowed down a lot," said Dinesh Trivedi of Trinamool.
Speaking in his "personal capacity", Trivedi noted that India needs to reform to give jobs and India is potentially placed to become the engine of growth for the world.
In many cases, he said, India has lost a lot of time.
Among other members of the delegation are Birendra Prasad Baishya (Asom Gana Parishad), Thomas Sangma (Nationalist Congress Party), Madhu Goud Yaskhi (Congress), Shivkumar Udasi (BJP), Manicka Tagore (Congress), Ajoy Kumar (Jharkhand Vikaas Morcha Party), Mukut Mithi (Congress) Vandana Chavan (Nationalist Congress Party) and Kamlesh Paswan from the Bharatiya Janata Party.