House Republican Conference Chair, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik officially launched the Congressional Hindu Caucus (CHC), in the presence of fellow Republican lawmakers and 600 Hindu American Leaders from around the country, on November 15, 2023, at The Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.
The event hosted by the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC) and its Chairman and CHC’s Policy Advisor, Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, also celebrated Diwali along with CHC’s Co-Chairs Elise Stefanik and Pete Sessions, along with lawmakers and community members.
“And for each of you here from the Republican Hindu Caucus, your core values of free enterprise, fiscal discipline, family values, and a firm foreign policy not only guide the Hindu American community, but our central tenets shared and fought by House Republicans and Republicans across America,” noted Stefanik while adding “That is why, today, I am so excited to announce the official launch of the Congressional Hindu Caucus in the United States Congress with my good friend and Co-Chair Pete Sessions.”
Stefanik said, “As we conclude Diwali festivities, we have the joyous reminder of the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. This guidance must remain at the core of our mission each and every day as we tackle the very great challenges in front of us,” and reminded everyone of the ongoing battle between Israel and Hamas.
Commending the role of Hindu Americans for their support to Israeli and Jewish friends, she said both India and the United States form a “unified force to counter terrorism.” “Countering communist China’s malign influence, collaborating on technological development and security cooperation, and supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific must remain top priorities,” added Stefanik while talking about US-India jointly tackling China. “To do so, we will continue to pursue policies that encourage and enhance trade between the United States and India, decrease India’s reliance on Russian and Chinese made defense equipment and increase collaboration and joint quad and bilateral military exercises.”
She urged that the “United States and India can continue to pursue a strong foreign policy [stance] to combat aggression, discourage authoritarian regimes and contain territorial expansions,” adding House Republicans and CHC should join forces with millions of Hindu Americans nationwide and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. It is also vital to fortify connections and further amplify the considerable achievements established by Shalli, RHC, President Trump, and Prime Minister Modi, she added.
Stefanik also recalled that President Trump was the first Presidential candidate to acknowledge the noteworthy achievements of Hindu Americans during a 2016 rally in New Jersey. She noted that during the rally Trump said in Hindi “Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar” which went viral with 1.2 billion views around the world. She went on to say “Ab Ki Baar Republican Sarkar,” on behalf of the House Republicans.
Commending second-generation Hindu Americans for their “significant impact on American society, business, culture, and American history,” she continued “From all over the world your unique experiences have shaped and influenced our country, continuing the time-honored tradition of American exceptionalism and the American dream.”
CHC’s Co-chair, Congressman Pete Sessions, said, “The things that the Republican Party teaches today are the same things that Ronald Reagan taught also… that we will stand with our allies. And America will stand with its allies like we’re doing not just with India, but also with Israel.
Praising the work of Hindu Americans, Sessions said “Shalli Kumar, Elise Stefanik, and I will be taking our message around the United States. And we intend to take not only our candidates, but we intend to take our members, some 150, who represent people [from] all over this country and include Hindu Americans in that political relationship to reshape our world and our country,” while asking the help of Hindu Americans to share and spread the message.
Kumar emphasized, “This will be one of the largest caucuses in the US Congress that would be actively engaged in enacting legislation and passing resolutions important to the Hindu American community,” while highlighting the “impressive educational and professional achievements of the Hindu American community,” said a press statement from RHC.
Notably, Congressman Shri Thanedar also launched a Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain American Congressional Caucus on September 29, 2023. “We should really fight against hatred in the world. We should fight against bigotry, and we need to unite and lift people. We need to foster understanding, promote inclusion, and take affirmative policy actions” Thanedar said after launching the Caucus.
A congressional caucus is a group of members of the United States Congress that meet to pursue common legislative objectives. Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, an Indian-American is the founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition. Shalabh Kumar said more than 150 members of the US House of Representatives have committed to becoming members of the Congressional Hindu Caucus.
This would make it one of the largest caucuses in the US Congress that would be actively engaged in enacting legislation and passing resolutions important to the Hindu American community, Kumar added.