HAF, House India Caucus Hold ‘India’s Democracy in Action’ Briefing on Capitol Hill

Washington, DC (June 11, 2019) – On Friday, June 7 the Hindu American Foundation, together with the House Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans (India Caucus), held a briefing on Capitol Hill entitled “India’s Democracy in Action: A Post-Election Analysis.”

Drawing staffers from more than a dozen House and Senate offices, federal agencies, think tanks, and academia, the briefing provided lawmakers with an objective analysis of the recent Indian elections.

The program featured remarks from Dr. Thelma John David, First Secretary Political, Embassy of India; Suhag Shukla, Esq., Executive Director, Hindu American Foundation; and Jeff Smith, Asian Studies Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation. The discussion was moderated by HAF Director of Government Relations Jay Kansara.

Shukla opened the panel discussion by contrasting the political spectrum in India versus the United States, followed by a detailed analysis of the election results at both the national and state level. She reviewed the successful programs and reforms initiated during the Modi administration’s first term and the challenges they face in the next five years.

“The Indian elections were a historic exercise in democracy that drew a record number of voters (over 600 million) and saw a diverse cross section of the electorate overwhelmingly support incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party,” said Shukla. “It’s critical that Prime Minister Modi use this convincing mandate to continue to pursue policies that promote inclusive growth, law and order, and good governance, while investing in education, infrastructure, and clean energy so that Indians of all backgrounds thrive,” she said.

Following Shukla’s remarks, Smith discussed the impact of the recent terror attack in Pulwama on the election and the growth of terrorism in the region more broadly. He also shared his analysis on the current and future state of US-India relations, as well as the importance of deepening the US-India strategic partnership.

In addition to the expert analysis, participants received a copy of HAF’s new India: Democracy in Diversity brief, which covers the diverse ethnic and religious makeup of the world’s largest democracy, as well as the institutionalized protections for minorities.

“This briefing went a long way towards promoting a better understanding of India’s elections and democracy, and the enormous potential of US-India relations,” said Taniel Koushakjian, HAF’s Director of Public Policy. “We’re thankful to the India Caucus for co-hosting the event, especially Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Congressman George Holding (R-NC), as well as Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and for their leadership on issues impacting the Hindu American community,” he said.