US lawmaker asks Indian-origin officials about ‘your country’

Congressman Curt Clawson, who has now apologised for the gaffe, was giving his maiden speech during a Congressional hearing on India held by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

‘I am familiar with your country. I love your country,’ he said during the hearing.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, and the Assistant Commerce Secretary for Global Markets, Arun Kumar, who is also director general of International Trade Administration’s US and Foreign Commercial Service, were testifying before the Congressional subcommittee on the Indo-US relationship under the new Indian government.

During the testimony, Clawson posed questions to Biswal and Kumar both of whom are Indian Americans as if they were representatives of the Indian government.

‘I am familiar with your country. I love your country. I’m hopeful with the new change in regime that the future and the land of promise and the land of opportunity of India can finally become so,’ Clawson said.

‘I understand the complications of so many languages and so many cultures and so many histories all rolled up in one.

But this is an awesome country with awesome potential and somebody that we need to be friends with and that we can trust, not just for security but what is also important to me is for economic development,’ he said.

‘Having invested tens of millions of dollars in India myself, I have a little bit of understanding of your challenges and the opportunities,’ Clawson said and referred to his India experience.

The Republican lawmaker from Florida shared his bitter experience in India as a businessman.

‘It felt like product from India can flow out but product into India cannot flow in easily. In today’s world where capital generally has no barriers, it didn’t feel like a totally modern system.

‘And so therefore I was glad that I had a very good partner that could help us through it; otherwise, we may not have made the investments,’ Clawson said as he praised his Indian business partner.



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