Washington, Jan.28 (ANI): The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) and its coalition partners converged on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet US lawmakers and urge them to adopt a tougher line on terrorism emanating out of Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks.
The "Washington Chalo" campaign raised awareness about the escalating global terrorism specifically directed against Indian and Western targets.
Over 200 Indian Americans from all over the United States were part of this campaign on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
The group held a series of meetings with India Caucus Co-Chairs Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Joe Wilson (R-SC), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Cong. Van Hollen (D-MD) and longtime Indian American supporters Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Representative Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Paul Hodes (D-NH).
"I am proud to meet USINPAC and Indian-American community leaders of the task force dedicated to raising awareness and understanding within Washington policy circles about the nature, extent, and ramifications of last November's Mumbai attacks," said Cong. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the ranking Republican from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "We must continue to work together to shed light on the true reach of the Islamist militant global network operating out of Pakistan. I commend USINPAC for their strategic vision and leadership in this effort," she added.
The "Washington Chalo" campaign spearheaded by the Indian American Task Force capped the day-long meetings with a reception on Tuesday evening at Capitol Hill after meetings with nearly 60 members of Congress in addition to prominent policy makers held yesterday.
"We identified many lawmakers who are willing to champion the need to make firmer demands of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism," said Sanjay Puri, Chairman of USINPAC. "We intend to keep the issue alive in the US Congress to "condition" future US military aid on Pakistan's efforts to close down terrorist training camps and better accountability of the funds." added Puri.
Representative Jim McDermott, who had earlier sponsored an India resolution after the Mumbai attacks, pledged strong support on this issue. "I was very pleased to have a productive meeting with USINPAC and this passionate group of Americans of Indian origin to reinforce for us the importance and depth of the circumstances surrounding the Mumbai attacks. Our meeting highlighted why the Mumbai attacks represented not just an assault on freedom in India, but freedom anywhere. I hope to keep this dialogue front and center in Washington," said McDermott.
The Indian American Task Force is a coalition of leading Indian American organizations. They represent the 2.5 million Indian Americans living in the US. The taskforce consists of leaders from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), Association of Indians in America (AIA), Indian American Friendship Forum (IAFF), Indian American Forum for Political Education (IAFPE), Indian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO); and the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC).(ANI)