The 11-member delegation also meets U.S. officials
A group of Indian MPs attended a crash course at Yale University in the U.S.
The six-day course under the India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme, which was launched in 2007, focussed, among others, on global economic governance, counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan and political developments in the Middle East
The 11-member delegation, led by Baijayant “Jay” Panda of the BJD, took part in discussions with the university faculty on global economic governance, the U.S. economy, corruption in government, Iran’s nuclear programme and political and economic developments in China. The other topics discussed were political developments in the Arab world, the U.S. Presidential elections, the economic and political crises in the Eurozone and higher education in India. Furthermore, there were sessions on the challenges of leadership, strategy, negotiation and applied game theory.
After completing the course, which the university organised in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians, the MPs arrived here on Wednesday.
They met Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, the former U.S. Ambassador to India, Tim Roemer, and the former U.S. diplomat, John Negroponte.
“I see a dramatic” change in the mood in the U.S. against Pakistan, Mr. Panda, who is also chairman of the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians, said after the daylong meetings with government officials and think-tanks here. “In the U.S., there are lawmakers who are no longer willing to be as tolerant as the U.S. has been in the past.” Over the next two days, the delegation will meet lawmakers and hold meetings at the Pentagon and the White House.
Mr. Burns, a State Department spokesperson said, underscored the importance of the U.S.-India relations and discussed the successful outcome of the recent Strategic Dialogue. “He reiterated the continuing and growing importance of India-U.S. relations,” Mr. Panda said.
‘Reforms needed for creating jobs’
At the meetings with U.S. officials, “there were concerns in many ways that the reform process in India has… slowed down a lot,” said Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress. Speaking in his “personal capacity,” Mr. Trivedi noted that India needed reforms to create jobs, and it was potentially placed to become the growth engine for the world.
The other members of the delegation are Birendra Prasad Baishya of the Asom Gana Parishad; Thomas Sangma and Vandana Chavan of the Nationalist Congress Party; Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Mukut Mithi and Manicka Tagore of the Congress; Shivkumar Udasi and Kamlesh Paswan of the BJP; and Ajoy Kumar of the Jharkhand Vikaas Morcha Party.
Dinesh Trivedi, who was removed as Railway Minister at the behest of his Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee after he increased passenger fares, said on Thursday that most political parties, especially the regional ones, had become “feudal,” with decisions taken at the whims and fancies of their leaders.
“Sycophancy or chamchagiri is not serving any leader,” Mr. Trivedi, who is here as part of a parliamentary delegation, told PTI. “... slowly, for the past few years, a very dangerous trend has set, in which most parties have become feudal. There is no internal democracy at all, issues are not debated, issues are not discussed. Whatever the head of the party — I am not talking about one party, I am speaking in general — that is carried on, there is never a debate on it.”
“Country comes first”
In such a situation, he argued, party members were scared that if they said something against the leader or the decision he took, they would not get the ticket next time. “At the end of the day, for me, the country comes first, then comes the family, and then comes the party,” he said, making it clear that he was speaking in his personal capacity and not as a spokesperson of the Trinamool Congress.
Mr. Trivedi, 62, was forced to step down as Railway Minister in March this year by Ms. Banerjee after his Railway Budget proposed an increase in passenger fares.
“...if we are only going to serve not the party but an individual, then, I think, it is going to be very, very dangerous development in India, which would be against all the tenets of freedom of expression and democracy,” he said.