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Co-chair of India caucus George Holding to retire

Rep. George Holding. File

Rep. George Holding. File   | Photo Credit: AP

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A re-drawing of Congressional district lines, which has resulted in Mr. Holding’s district turning Democrat, was part of the stated reason for his decision.

News of a change in the U.S. House of Representatives that has special significance for India-U.S. relations emerged on December 6 with the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, George Holding, a Republican from North Carolina, announcing that he will not seek re-election in 2020.

A re-drawing of Congressional district lines, which has resulted in Mr. Holding’s district turning Democrat, was part of the stated reason for his decision.

“I should add, candidly, that, yes, the newly redrawn Congressional Districts were part of the reason I have decided not to seek reelection,” Mr. Holding said in a statement, adding that it was also a good time for him to step back and that he hoped to return to public office in the future.

A state court had said earlier this year that Congressional districts were drawn in an unconstitutional manner and a new congressional map was approved by judges earlier this week.

Mr. Holding, who was elected to Congress in 2012, has supported legislation that has sought closer India-U.S. relations, especially on the defence front. In 2016, he introduced a bill whose language was ultimately used in legislation that resulted in India being designated a Major Defence Partner (MDP) of the U.S. He also co-sponsored an amendment this year (which ultimately was not successful) that sought to grant India equivalent status to NATO allies for the purposes of the U.S.’s Arms Export Control Act.

Earlier in the week, The Hindu had reported on another House development of significance to India: an expected change in the chairmanship of the Asia subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee with Ami Bera, an Indian-American Democrat Congressman from California, potentially leading that Committee after current chair Brad Sherman’s expected shift to another subcommittee.

Mr. Sherman had also co-sponsored or sponsored India related amendments, including those above, and is co-chair of the India Caucus along with Mr. Holding. An October 22 hearing he hosted on human rights in South Asia had taken Indian officials by surprise, as it focused in large measure on India’s recent actions in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 (special status for Jammu & Kashmir) in August.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:45:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/co-chair-of-india-caucus-george-holding-to-retire/article30228437.ece

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