The resolution, sponsored by co-chairs of Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans Representatives, commended the maturating of the relationship between India and U.S., exemplified by Manmohan Singh’s 4-day official visit beginning on Sunday

In a rare gesture, the House of Representatives on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution welcoming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s state visit here next week and said the Indo-US ties had great potential to promote peace, stability and democracy throughout the world.

The resolution, sponsored by co-chairs of Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans Representatives Jim McDermott and Ed Royce, commended the maturating of the relationship between the two countries, exemplified by Dr. Singh’s 4-day official visit beginning on November 22.

It said the relationship between the US and India had great potential to promote stability, democracy, prosperity, and peace throughout the world and enhance the ability of both countries to work together to provide global leadership in areas of mutual concern and interest.

“Our partnership with India is built on this foundation: that India’s rise as a great power in Asia and as a global player advances critical American interests ranging from the promotion of democracy and democratic values, to improving stability and security throughout all parts of Asia,” Congressman Gary Ackerman said on the floor of the House.

Welcoming Dr. Singh’s visit, Mr. Ackerman, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia who co-sponsored the resolution with Ranking Member on the committee Dan Burton, said the Prime Minister has “worked hard to improve our already strong ties, and has courageously taken political risks for our bilateral relationship that few would venture.”

Mr. Ackerman said Dr. Singh put his government and his career on line on the issue of the nuclear deal with the US over which he faced political opposition in India.

“It wasn’t for us, though his victory has certainly proved to be to our advantage. No, Prime Minister Singh took his chances for India, for its future and for the fulfilment of that country’s enormous potential.”

Dr. Singh is set to meet President Barack Obama on November 24 during the first State Dinner of the new US Administration at the White House.

Mr. Ackerman, who twice co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, said the United States does not fear a growing India for one simple reason that “India’s values are our values.”

“India is a real democracy, with real institutions that are subordinate to the rule of law; India, though ready to defend itself, doesn’t start wars or harbour terrorists; India, though as fastidious as any state about protecting its sovereignty, can be relied upon to keep its word once committed to a treaty or an international agreement,” he said.

Mr. Ackerman said India struggles to preserve its tradition of religious, cultural and ethnic pluralism and safeguards sensitive technologies and fights terrorism.

“We don’t see ourselves when we look at India, though this nation has benefitted immensely from Indians who have become Americans. India is vastly larger in population, vastly older in history, and vastly more complex culturally, with some 2,000 ethnicities, and 29 major languages,” he said.

However, Mr. Ackerman also noted “similarities” between India and the US.

“We do see a nation (India) committed to lifting itself up by its own means. We do see a nation open to the world. And we do see a nation committed to the same vision of peace and security that has guided our own nation,” he said.

Acknowledging that there would be differences between the two countries, Ackerman said that some of them, particularly on the issue of Iran, were “very serious”.

“But as nations committed to a relationship of equals, a relationship of mutual benefit and mutual respect, I believe we can work through our differences and achieve enormous progress in the many areas of our mutual concern,” he said.

McDermott; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ross-Lehtinen also made statements on the floor of the House.