- As Delivered –

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks at a reception honoring Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  It’s a great honor to welcome Prime Minister Modi to the United States Congress. Mr. Prime Minister, Namaskar.

“Welcome to all of you, and thank you for joining to celebrate this important moment.

“It’s been 22 years since several of my colleagues and I founded the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.  At that time, the ties between our countries weren’t as close as they are now.  Yes, we were both democracies.  Yes, we both embraced the important example set by Mohandas Gandhi. But frankly, our relationship had more irritants than areas of agreement. So the fact that we’re all here today shows how far the United States and India have come. Thanks to the hard work of dedicated leaders from both our countries—and certainly the Prime Minister takes no seconds in this; he has been at the forefront— we’re now standing shoulder-to-shoulder in ways that no one would have imagined a generation ago.

“Just look at the nuclear issue: once one of the biggest stumbling blocks between our countries, it’s now a cornerstone of the renewed U.S.-India partnership, and I’m proud that I was the first Member of Congress to approve of that U.S.-India nuclear partnership.

“The list of ideas and areas where we’ve turned confrontation into collaboration goes on and on.  Whether it be defense, climate change, or space exploration; shared concerns in the Indian Ocean region; a commitment to economic innovation; or cooperation on humanitarian assistance, the challenges our countries are facing together cuts across sectors. 

“And at the heart of the friendship are people-to-people ties—especially the great Indian-American community in the United States.  Give yourselves a round of applause.  That community has brought such incredible energy to this relationship.  It’s the secret weapon for both countries, driving stronger engagement and helping keep things on track during challenging times.

“So Mr. Prime Minister, your visit will energize this work even further. And I’m confident that Congress will remain focused on India as an anchor of stability in the region and a key American partner in Asia.

“That’s why yesterday, along with Congressman Joe Crowley, I introduced a bill to designate India as a Special Global Partner of the United States.  This is a new and unique status for a relationship that must continue to thrive.  Because if we stay committed to deepening this friendship further, if we think long-term while working to meet day-to-day challenges, then this relationship will help both our countries become stronger and more prosperous, and will become one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. I’m proud of this legislation, and I hope the Congress passes it as quickly as possible.

“So I thank all of you who are here today, and once again a very warm welcome to you Mr. Prime Minister.  It’s an honor to have you with us.”