Pallone travels to tsunami impacted South Asia (Day 4: India)
NEW DELHI, INDIA
The hardest hit areas of India were the remote Nicobar and Andaman islands and along the southeastern coast of mainland India. Given the time constraints, we were unable to travel to these areas, but I was able to receive a firsthand account of relief efforts directly from Prime Minister Singh.
During my meeting with the Prime Minister, he informed me that recovery efforts in India are progressing well. The Prime Minister had recently returned from travel to the Nicobar and Andaman Islands. Located close to the epicenter of the earthquake, they received considerable damage. The Indian government, given the isolated nature of these areas, is concerned that it will never be able to accurately estimate the death count on the islands. However, the government is working closely with the island governments to provide needed aid to their people.
Able to manage its own recovery efforts, India has also taken a leading role in efforts throughout the region. India has provided significant assistance to the Aceh Province in Indonesia and is providing much needed support to their close neighbor and ally, Sri Lanka.
INDO-U.S PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
As the founder of the Congressional Caucus on Indian and Indian Americans, I am honored to have played a role in strengthening U.S. Indian relations. Today, we met with the India Caucus' counterpart in the Indian Parliament, the Indo-U.S. Parliamentary Forum. They updated us on the progress of tsunami relief efforts and their aid to other affected nations. They also briefed us on their commitment to HIV-AIDS research, specifically their HIV-AIDS vaccine and research initiative.