A few weeks ago, the Biden administration refused to export raw material for vaccines to India. Today, the same administration is willing to extend every possible help from medicines to vaccine raw material, spare vaccines and so on. The Biden administration is ready to extend the services for which it was not even asked, like offering to send a Covid ‘strike team’ which the Modi government turned down.
And, all this became possible due to two reasons – India’s growing diplomatic heft in the international area and the influence of the Indian-American community. While India’s growing stature and ability to become a global superpower is known to everyone, the influence of Indian American community, which is just 1 per cent of the United State’s population, is relatively unknown.
Like the Jews, who have become so powerful that even Obama – who hated Israel and its then Prime Minister Netanyahu to the core – could not do anything against Israel, Indians have become powerful enough to force even not so friendly administration to extend help to India in times of need.
And, this is not the first time that Indian Americans have proved their loyalty to the motherland. From the 1990s, when the Indian Americans were not so influential and powerful – their influence grew enormously with the rise of the importance of Silicon Valley in the American economy – they have supported India and lobbied for its cause with the American governments. Given the fact American political system and its politicians are highly transactional in nature, lobbying is a very powerful tool to buy favour with the American administration. The Indian Americans community is the most educated and the richest minority community in the United States and they leverage their influence to build a favourable environment for India in the American administration.
During the Pokhran Nuclear tests, when India had defied international norms and conducted a nuclear test, Indian-Americans were fast to mobilize because of their higher strength and better economic conditions compared to their Pakistani counterparts.
What followed was the setting up of powerful Indo-American groups for putting forward views of the sizable and affluent Indo-American population in the United States. Indian American Forum for Political Education is the oldest and largest political organization set up in the United States to empower Indians politically by raising their civic consciousness and increasing participation in community affairs and the mainstream political process. Indian American Forum for Political Education has since acted as a strong forum for the Indo-American community.
Setting up The U.S.-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) was also a major boost to the Indo-American community in the US after the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans was formed in 1994. In 2004, a bipartisan India Caucus was formed in the U.S. Senate which was headed by Hillary Clinton, Democratic senator of New York, and John Cornyn, Republican senator of Texas. This was the first time a Senate caucus was formed dedicated to a single country. The Caucus has not only been instrumental in countering anti-India propaganda by Pakistani and Chinese groups but has also played an important role in pushing pro-India legislation through Congress.
The influence of the Indo-American lobby has been continually growing since then, the passage of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal was another landmark success of the efforts of the Indo-America lobby, with millions of affluent Indo-Americans rooting for the deal to be cleared. And, by forcing the Biden administration to extend help to India, the Indian-American community has once again shown their loyalty to the motherland.