New York– Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna will be the co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans in the 118th Congress.
Khanna, 46, a Democrat who represents California’s 17th Congressional District, will co-chair the Caucus with Republican House colleague Mike Waltz.
“The Indian-American diaspora can play such an important role in helping strengthen the US-India partnership. I think this is a historic moment for our community. I think we’re really emerging and coming into our own as a strong voice,” Khanna told NBC News.
The India Caucus is a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers that was established in 1993 to bolster New Delhi-Washington relations.
Prior to Khanna, Congressman Ami Bera was the first Indian-American to be elected as the co-chair of the Caucus in 2015-2016 during the 115th Congress.
“I’m going to try to make it about not just us India, but also the Indian-American community and highlighting the contributions of that community,” Khanna told NBC News.
Indian-Americans are the second-largest immigrant group in the US, with their population estimated to be around four million.
As the profile of the community has grown, so too has its social, economic, and political influence.
There are presently five Indian-Americans serving in the Congress, popularly known as the ‘Samosa Caucus’ — Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal, and Shri Thanedar.
Khanna’s appointment comes amidst reports that he may be looking at a potential presidential run in 2024.
His recent moves have sparked speculation among Democrats in several key states that the Congressman has his eyes set on a higher office, according to Politico.
“If President Biden didn’t seek re-election, his name would have to be on the list of top contenders,” Stacey Walker, founder of the Iowa-based firm Sage Strategies, said.
Khanna — son of immigrant parents from Punjab — is seen as one of the leaders of his party’s progressive wing, and a relative newcomer on the scene who has broad appeal and formidable skills.
On US-India relations, he said last month that the relationship between the two democracies could define the 21st century.
Khanna had said in November 2022 that the US needs a strong defence and strategic partnership with India, especially in the face of escalating aggression from China.
In September last year, he had introduced a standalone bill in the US House of Representatives seeking a waiver to India against the punitive CAATSA sanctions. (IANS)