Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses with an adoring crowd of Indian-Americans during his visit to Washington D.C. this week (Photo courtesy: PIB)
It was a proud moment not just for the three million-strong Indian American community but for Indians worldwide as mention of their contribution by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – “they are among your best” - received prolonged ovation in an unprecedented acknowledgement from the packed US Congress.
Prime Minister Modi, in his address to the joint sitting of US Congress on Wednesday, praised the manifold contributions of the Indian-American community to the US.
“Connecting our two nations is also a unique and dynamic bridge of three million Indian Americans,” Modi said.
“They are among your best CEOs, academics, scientists, economics, doctors, even spelling bee champions,” he said eliciting standing applause, and endorsement of their standing in American society, from the US lawmakers.
He also mentioned the popularity of yoga in the US, where it has over 30 million practitioners, and said to laughter that India has not yet claimed intellectual property rights for it.
Such was the impact of Modi's address on Congress that lawmakers made a beeline to congratulate him after his speech. And this very Congress had passed law that was invoked to deny Modi a visa for nine years on the ground of his being complicit in human rights violations in his home state Gujarat during the anti-Muslim riots of 2002.
Crowds of Indian Americans chanted "Modi, Modi" ecstatically after the Prime Minister came out from Capitol Hill and security agents had a tough time keeping surging Indian Americans at bay as Modi, in his inimitable style, pumped hands across the cordon.
On the day this happened, Indian-Americans got closer to making history in more ways as, at the US primaries, Kamala Harris, the California attorney general, advanced to the general election. If she wins, Harris, whose mother is from India and father from Jamaica, will become the first Indian-American elected to the Senate.
Also in California, Ro Khanna, a Democrat running for a congressional district that broadly makes up the whole of the Silicon Valley, advanced to the final round. He too faces another Democrat, incumbent Mike Honda. This is their second direct fight but Khanna seems to have the edge this time.
In the third contest, also in California, the only Indian-American member of the House of Representatives, Ami Bera, advanced to the last stage in his bid for a third term. If Bera and Khanna win, the number of Indian-Americans in the House of Representatives will go up to two and possibly three, if Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat running in Illinois, also wins. He has cleared his primaries, Hindustan Times reported.
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