This article talks about the India America ties (i.e) interactions between the Indian members of Parliament and the American member of Congress, that is their parliament should increase.
The India US relations in the past decade or so have only become better, and in order to take them to an entirely new level, we should have regular interactions between the members of Parliament of the two nations. Just a few weeks back, a six-member congressional delegation (i.e) six members of parliament from the US came to visit India, Taiwan and the Philippines. In India, they met with the prime minister, external minister and representatives of the Dalai Lama. After going back to the US, the same members of Parliament met with President Joe Biden and requested him to grant a waiver to India with respect to India buying the S-400 missiles from Russia, which underlines the significance of such interactions between the two nations.
In the upcoming edition of the 2+2 dialogue, which is a dialogue between the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries, the two countries might think about establishing communication between the groups of parliamentarians of the two countries. In the past, such interactions have given rich results. For example, in 1953, the US Vice President Richard Nixon, who went on to become the president, later on, came to India to address our members of parliament.
Over the years, other presidents such as Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have also addressed Indian parliament. So the vice president in the US, just like in India, is the leader of the upper house. So Richard Nixon, when he was a vice president, was the head of the Senate. During an argument about a bill (whether or not to allow the use of nuclear power for commercial purposes), there was a heated debate in the Senate and Richard Nixon trying to silence the members of Parliament was using the gavel. Gavel means a kind of a hammer that judges have to silence people.
So Richard Nixon was using the gavel and this gavel had a rich history, it was over two hundred years old made of ivory (i.e) elephant teeth. During this heated discussion, he struck the gavel so hard that it broke off. A few weeks later, India’s vice president Dr S Radhakrishnan, was invited to speak in the U.S. Congress. As a friendly gesture, India’s vice president presented to the U.S. Senate a new gavel made of ivory exactly in the same design as was the earlier one and this gavel is still used in the US Senate by the leader of the Senate, which is Kamala Harris right now.
The way forward can be that India’s parliamentary group can establish relations with the US. India’s parliamentary group has formal friendship groups, including with countries such as Japan, Russia, China and European Union, but the U.S. is not on this list. Most countries across the world have this kind of parliamentary group under which their members of Parliament during their parliament break travel to other countries, interact with the other parliaments to establish better relationships.
So the Indian parliamentary group came into being in 1949 itself when the Constituent Assembly of India discussed the matter and thought that it is important to have such a group. All the members of Parliament or even the Ex-members of Parliament can become a member of this particular group, which is headed by the Loksabha speaker. You have to pay a membership fee and after that, you will be considered as a member of this group. You can also pay a fee for a lifetime even after you stop being a member of Parliament, if you have paid a lifetime fee, you will still be called an associate life member.
What do they do?
They establish contact with the other members of parliament across the world, hold seminars, discuss issues, give lectures and listen to other people and learn from the best practices across the world. This group also gives the award for the outstanding parliamentarian every single year in the parliament. As I said, there are right now eight friendship groups as per the Indian parliamentary group website China, European Union, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea, Russia, Vietnam and Latin America.