A new bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives, seeking to strengthen the partnership between India and the US by enhancing shared values in education, conflict resolution and development.
On December 19, Democratic lawmaker from Georgia John Lewis introduced the bill that sought to "affirm" the friendship between the two countries and set up a bilateral partnership for collaboration to advance "development and shared values, and for other purposes".
Currently, the bill has six co-sponsors - all of them Democrats. Three of them are Indian-American lawmakers, including Congresswoman from Washington state Pramila Jayapal, who recently moved a resolution calling for ending of restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, a move that has not gone down well with India. Subsequently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said he had "no interest" in meeting her.
The details of the bill have not been uploaded as yet on the official website. But ANI has learnt from sources that the bill has been introduced by Mr Lewis, a close loyalist of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The bill proposes three initiatives, all of them named jointly after Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
It includes the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative with an allocation of $2 million for each fiscal from 2020 through 2025. This would comprise an annual educational forum for scholars from India and the US held alternately in the two countries that would focus on the study of the works and philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and visits to historical sites.
The bill proposes the setting up of Gandhi-King Global Academy, which would be a professional development training initiative on conflict resolution, with an allocation of $2 million for each fiscal year from 2020 through 2025, implemented through the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
It also includes the Gandhi-King Development Foundation, which would be established by the USAID under the laws of India.
The funding authorised to USAID for the foundation is $30 million every year from 2020 through 2025. This foundation would have a governing council convened by the governments of the US and India and would oversee grants to NGOs in the areas of health, pollution and climate change, education, and women empowerment.