US Congresswoman promotes US, Hawai’i interests to India

US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard concluded her successful tour of India in early January this year, which was prompted by a personal invitation from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the U.S. in September 2014.  During nearly three weeks of meetings with India’s top government, military, and business leaders, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sought to “introduce the people of India to Hawai’i—to share with them the aloha spirit and plant seeds for closer cultural and economic ties between the people of India and Hawai’i.”

US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

“I feel this trip was a great success,” said Gabbard. “I went to India hoping to introduce and familiarize people with Hawai’i, and to help warm the relationship between our two countries. I think we accomplished both goals, and I am optimistic that there will be increased collaboration between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy.”

Gabbard has achieved great success in sharing her perspectives with the Indian administration, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Her meetings created traction for the increasing economic relations between India and the US. Rep. Gabbard propagated the state of Hawai’i and its role in the growing military cooperation between the countries as was recently manifested in last year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), held in the state, which is the world’s largest joint naval exercise in which India participated for the first time. India sent the Shivalik-class frigate INS Sahyadri, an indigenously built ‘stealth’ vessel which entered into service in 2012.

Gabbard’s intense multi-city tour in India was highly impactful as she explored exciting collaborative opportunities for the two countries. Her meetings with the Governor and the Chief Minister of the state of Goa have led to discussions about a sister state program “aimed at increasing relations between the two states and promoting tourism”. Gabbard’s team will work very closely with the Goan administration to formalize this initiative. She also met the representatives of Indian International Film Association to promote the state of Hawai’i as a destination for Bollywood films and award functions. Gabbard’s interactions with leading corporate leaders in Mumbai considered to be the financial hub of India, has led to a deeper understanding among the community about the offerings of Hawai’i as a premium investment destination. She also rang the bell at the Bombay Stock Exchange, symbolic of a renewed relationship between India and the US for increased trade cooperation and collaboration on shared interests.

During this official visit, the Indian media widely quoted her perspectives on crucial matters like spirituality, religion, military affairs, economic relations, Swachh Bharat (Clean India campaign), and other shared interests between India and the US. She spoke elaborately about Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga and how the Bhagavad Gita transformed her life.  She described that in Hawai’i, expressing aloha means to offer one’s deepest respect and love and how the world today is in dire need of leaders who have such aloha spirit; servant-leaders who are motivated out of spiritual love to work in the spirit of karma yoga, or selfless service to others.  In her keynote address at the India Ideas Conclave in Goa, she said “I truly believe that if those of us who are in positions of leadership live in the spirit of Karma and Bhakti yoga, motivated out of actual respect and love for others, seeing ourselves as servants working for the well-being of others, that our world can become a much better, happier place, and we will all have a much brighter future. When I say leaders, I’m not just referring to leaders of legislatures or political leaders. I’m referring to leaders in all fields of endeavors. We can all be applying principles of karma and bhakti yoga to our lives.”

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