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Indian Americans Horrified by Ukraine War, Distance Themselves From India Government

Indian Americans Horrified by Ukraine War, Distance Themselves From India Government

BY YASHWANT RAJ

WASHINGTON, DC – Indian Americans plan to issue a forceful denouncement of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to shield themselves from the fallout of the Indian government’s continued refusal to condemn the war, which has drawn widespread scrutiny and criticism from within and out of US policy circles.

A bipartisan group of well-connected Indian American political operatives are expecting to hold a seminar on Capitol Hill on theme of “Indian Americans Against Genocide in Ukraine”, one of the organizers said. June 22 is the tentative date being considered and the event is likely to be headlined by a leading yoga guru and attended by many US lawmakers.

Indian American speakers could include the four serving members of the US House of Representatives Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, all of whom have been extremely critical of the Russian invasion and both publicly and privately critical of India’s refusal to condemn it.

Politically active Indian Americans have been a key driver of the India-US relationship. They helped soften American backlash against India after the 1998 Pokhran II nuclear tests and, most significantly, rallied US lawmakers to pass a legislation that ended India’s nuclear isolation in 2008.

They have stood with the Indian government of the day in a notable display of bipartisan solidarity with their country of origin. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been popular with both Republican and Democratic Indian Americans. For the community to break so publicly with his government’s position on Ukraine should cause concern at 7 Race Course Road.

Like most Americans, Indian Americans have been horrified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and have been appalled by images of death and destruction coming out of the battle-ravaged country.

They have also watched with growing disquiet the Modi government’s refusal to condemn the invasion and bristle at having to “either defend it or face scorn for it”. One Indian American said he was asked by a Pennsylvania party official recently, “Why is India supporting the Russians?”

India is not supporting the Russian invasion. While it has refused to condemn it outrightly, it has made clear its opposition to it. New Delhi has called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations must be respected. But all of that has been obscured by India abstaining in critical UN votes on the war.

“What the Russian Army has been doing in Ukraine is downright genocide,” said Shekhar Tiwari, a Republican operative who is also chairman of the American Hindu Coalition. He has been a close associate of several top BJP leaders. “Being a Hindu and a son of a Gandhian, it is hard for me to stomach,” he added.

These Indian Americans are careful not to criticize the Indian government and insist they only want to express their horror over situation in Ukraine, which they described as a “genocide”, as has US President Joe Biden.

They have been concerned about the blowback they are getting for India’s position on the war and believe a public denouncement of Russia will, one, make clear the community feels as revolted as the rest of the country. And two, that the community is “not in the pocket of the embassy”, as one these Indian Americans put it.

Breaking with the Indian government over the Ukraine war will serve the twin purposes of signaling their own independence from the government of India and, two, convey their own feelings on the issue.

Some Indian Americans have also argued, since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, India needs to denounce Moscow and finally pick a side that will be strategically more meaningful.

Ramesh Kapur, a Democratic strategist who worked closely with the presidential campaign of Biden, says India’s refusal to condemn the Russian invasion could be problematic should it need US assistance in a conflict with China. “If India gets into a situation with China, it can expect support from the US, but if the US thinks it cannot count on India they will have a problem,” he said, taking a tactical view of India’s position, as has been put forth by many US lawmakers.

Congressman Khanna told Fox News in March that he thinks India “ought to be condemning Putin” and “they need to realize, they have to pick sides”. He had added: “We, the United States, were with them when China invaded India. Putin wasn’t there. And it’s time for them to buy weapons from the United States, not Russia. We’ve got to look at how we can facilitate that and make that easier. We need India as an ally ultimately to contain China.”

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Comments
  • The Indian Americans opposed to the Indian Government’s stand with Putin are right. I hope Putin is tried by Russians like Mussolini was tried by the Italians.

    May 10, 2022
  • These Indian Americans don’t seem to stand by India anyway. It is a matter of great shame. Like people have to watch their interest, countries have to make decision based on their shot and long-term interests!

    May 10, 2022
  • What are you guys doing? Modi government condemned the war. You do not know or want to ignore the histoty.
    India has to be neutral She does help humanitarian needs.

    To me US is escalating war.

    May 10, 2022
  • Mr. Ro Khanna – you opposed CAA, Article 370, targetted Indian community by endorsing Prop16, said reject Hindutva, you are Pakistan Caucus Member, Praise/Meet Imran Khan and when Modi comes you boycott, do fundraising in Masjid, why don’t you consider retiring in Pakistan or stop being puppey and stop bashing India you Moran.

    May 10, 2022
    • Ro khanna aka Ramu aka a servant to Pakistani caucus and an illiterate puny little …..
      You have no idea what India is. It’s people like you who sell their souls to anyone who will buy it for Pennies. You ARE NOT representative of Indian Americans. So STOP using our names for your greed.
      Your parents should be ashamed of raising an anti Indian like you. You’re shameless and disgusting.

      May 12, 2022
  • I will vote for Ritesh Tandon – in the US congress and pray Ro’s Khan political journey ends this year.

    May 10, 2022
  • I think it was Mr Kissinger who once was heard saying that “there are (for US) no permanent friends, only permanent interests”, or something in that line.
    1) India looks after its own interests, both short term and long term.
    2) Short term: India is surrounded by its big brother, China that is seeking additional real-estate and uses India’s other neighbors to advance its interests.
    Considering that angle, Russia can then influence China to tone down, draw-back its agenda on India. Considering China’s support of Russia regarding Ukraine, then it is in China’s interest to listen to Russia because long term, China needs Russia’s energy on the cheap and so does India needing energy for its overall younger population aiming to join middle-class.
    3) Long term: India’s population is varied, multitude of ethnicities, languages, tribes and so forth trying to hold a nation together and it has to look at the longer-term interest, taking into account India’s neighbors’ overall economic/political situation.
    4) US, UK, Europe (France, Spain, Dutch) are in a way, erstwhile colonial rulers, having plundered India to the maximum and they are in no position to lend advice to India. Included US, after all the ruling establishment is still English, Anglo-Saxon, New-England Boston Brahmin crowd whose anchesters fled UK to settle down in US.
    So, cut some slack to Mr Modi and sure he has good advisors such as Mr Duval and rest.

    May 11, 2022
  • What was the response to the same question by such supporters of Democracy to China?

    May 11, 2022
  • That’s funny that India should become the tail that the US, the big dog wags! Where was theUS when China did attack india last year or when Pakistan sends over their terrorists to india? These Indian American politicos do not have the backbone to do right thing and support India’s right to maintain neutrality while assisting Ukraine & Russia with good, medical supplies etc.

    May 11, 2022
  • Ro khanna aka Ramu aka a servant to Pakistani caucus and an illiterate puny little …..
    You have no idea what India is. It’s people like you who sell their souls to anyone who will buy it for Pennies. You ARE NOT representative of Indian Americans. So STOP using our names for your greed.
    Your parents should be ashamed of raising an anti Indian like you. You’re shameless and disgusting.

    May 12, 2022
  • Same thing for disgusting soul sellers Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, and Raja Krishnamoorthi. You’re all shameless tail wagers and we the Real Indians ARE ASHAMED of you all. STOP using the Indian community for your DIRTY games.

    We American Indians are proud of Modi and India’s stand to be NEUTRAL. And get your facts right. Where was US when Pakistan sent terrorists to attack India. Why didn’t you condemn Pakistan then?

    May 12, 2022
  • Same thing for disgusting soul sellers Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, and Raja Krishnamoorthi. You’re all shameless tail wagers and we the Real Indians ARE ASHAMED of you all. STOP using the Indian community for your DIRTY games.

    We American Indians are proud of Modi and India’s stand to be NEUTRAL. And get your facts right. Where was US when Pakistan sent terrorists to attack India. Why didn’t you condemn Pakistan then?

    May 12, 2022
  • India has to take care of it’s national interest and the stand taken by Indian Government is commendable. Ukrain supported Pakistan in manufacturing of arks despite Indian Government appeal. These politicians are self centered.

    May 12, 2022
  • This war against Russia occurred because Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. It is a Democrat’s war against Putin – disguised as an American war with no American boots on the ground. Democrats who never cared for India in the past are for some reason fascinated by having:

    1. India condemn Russia for the war.
    2. Purchase more expensive non-Russian oil
    3. Destroy India’s dependence on the Russian military and side with the unreliable west.

    They are public officials of Indian origin. Expecting them to understand Indian issues is stupidity. As always these people will come back empty-handed on hard questions.

    They opposed CAA – Do they have proof of any Indian Muslim citizen being denied his rights under CAA? No, there is no proof but these people still opposed the law for a simple reason – they were funded by Anti-India interests and were committed to making those statements without assuming any responsibility.

    They did the same with Article 370 with a few of them seen hobnobbing with Pakistan – Were statements against India their compulsion?

    What voice has the Indian American community gained by having elected these people? NONE.

    May 17, 2022
  • Most recently arrived Indian immigrants are propagandists for the Modi government and the BJP. They have no tools for proper assessment of world affairs. They automatically react to any critical statement against the current Indian government, no matter how just the idea was. The Ukraine war is a classic example representing a more straightforward assessment of the events. Russia is an aggressor state trying to destroy a weaker nation only one-sixth of its size. For India to support an aggressor state is beyond the imagination of any rational and peace-loving person. Congressman Ro Khanna is correct in taking a courageous stand on this issue. He meets all requirements for the classification for inclusion in the “Profiles in Courage” listing. Ro Kanna, Zindabad!!

    May 17, 2022
  • Yeah Daljit, I realized that you are the only intelligent person of INDIA origin in US and we are all stupid and uneducated supporters of PM Modiji.

    May 19, 2022

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