India and the US must work on making bilateral ties stronger and focus on collaboration on education and cultural fronts, Indian-American Congressman Shri Thanedar has said.
He expressed hope that the two sides will talk about cooperation in the education and business sectors and find ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US this month.
“As an Indian American Congressman, I am excited to welcome him to the United States Congress and to this country as a leader of the largest democracy in the world,” Thanedar told PTI on Tuesday ahead of Modi’s visit.
Prime Minister Modi is visiting the US from June 21-24 at the invitation of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. The US president and the First Lady will also host Modi at a state dinner on June 22.
“Not only was I born there in India, but I also grew up in India. I believe that the United States and India, the two large democracies, need to have a much stronger relationship,” said Thanedar, who grew up in Belgaum.
“We should also talk about the immigration issues, the visa issues, the Green Card backlogs. I think it’s about time that the two nations worked on making the relationship even stronger,” said the US representative from Michigan’s 13th congressional district.
He said the country is currently having a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed.
“We need a bipartisan resolution of this issue and our immigration system is broken. That needs to be fixed. We haven’t really worked on immigration reform for quite some time now .. since the mid-90s. It’s time that the two parties put their heads together and make a meaningful immigration reform including legal immigration,” he said.
Currently, some countries have a long backlog of 10-12 years that is creating a lot of hardship for families, Thanedar said.
“Businesses are looking for a skilled workforce. Our economy cannot grow without a skilled workforce. We need to train Americans as much as we can in terms of giving them the skills to get good-paying jobs,” he said.
“At the same time, we have a larger population of South Asians and other science graduates and postgraduates and they are essential for America’s economic growth. “I want to do whatever I can to facilitate that, so the American economy can continue to grow, our GDP can grow even at a higher rate and we create more jobs for Americans,” Thanedar said.