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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard wraps up weeks of productive meetings in India to promote U.S., Hawai'i interests

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Washington, DC (Jan. 12, 2015): Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) recently returned from a very successful tour of India, which was prompted by a personal invitation from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the U.S. in September 2014.  

During nearly three weeks of meetings with India’s top government, military, and business leaders, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sought to “introduce the people of India to Hawaiʻi—to share with them the aloha spirit and plant seeds for closer cultural and economic ties between the people of India and Hawaiʻi.”

“I feel this trip was a great success,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “I went to India hoping to introduce and familiarize people with Hawaiʻi, and to help warm the relationship between our two countries. I think we accomplished both goals, and I am optimistic that there will be increased collaboration between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy.”

Visiting seven major cities, Rep. Gabbard was warmly received by several high-level Indian officials and the country’s most respected and progressive leaders. During her tour of India, the congresswoman:

·       Met again with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to further explore topics of mutual interest to America and India, focusing on enhanced cooperation in the fight against Islamic terrorism, working together to protect the environment, and maximizing economic opportunities between the two countries.

·       Met separately with India’s Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley, Minister of Defense, Manohar Parrikar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and Minister of External Affairs Srimati Sushma Swaraj to discuss the challenges facing the international community with the aim of improving cooperation between the U.S. and India, particularly in the areas of commerce, security, and defense.

·       Met with General Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Indian Army (COAS).  Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a Captain in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard, discussed with Singh the need for the U.S. and India to increase collaboration in the fight against terrorists and the importance of partner-building military-to-military engagements between the U.S. Pacific Command and the Indian military.

·       Met with India’s Minister for Tourism, Mahesh Chandra Sharma, to discuss strengthening tourism and cultural exchange opportunities between the U.S. and India.

·       Met with Srimati Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State (IC) of Commerce and Industry, to discuss ideas to increase commerce between India and the U.S. and minimize barriers to greater foreign investment.

·       Met with Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Governor Mridula Sinha to discuss establishing a “sister state” relationship between Hawaiʻi and Goa, India’s most popular beach tourism destination, with the aim of increasing economic and cultural exchanges between Goa and Hawaiʻi, as well as promoting tourism.

·       Delivered keynote address to the prestigious India Ideas Conclave, stressing the importance of having leaders who embrace the aloha spirit and work for the welfare of others as servant leaders. The conclave is known as India’s most eclectic and thought-provoking platform for global leaders and experts to discuss ideas in various fields of human development.

·       Met with several prominent figures in the India film industry to encourage increased cross-collaboration between those in the film industry in India and in Hawaiʻi.

·       Toured several sites of spiritual and cultural significance, including the memorial temple of Mahatma Gandhi, where Rep. Gabbard tried her hand at spinning cotton into thread on a replica of the spinning wheel used by Gandhi.