United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Washington would not tolerate safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan, emphasizing a warning that came straight from President Trump this August, and reiterated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his recent trip to South Asia.
Haley was speaking at the 20th Annual Legislative Gala hosted by the Indian American Friendship Council in Washington, D.C. Oct. 31. More than 200 people attended the event, organizers told News India Times.
A bipartisan group of high profile lawmakers including Senators Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Brad Sherman, D- California, Reps. Ed Royce, R- California, Frank Pallone, D-N.J., Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who received an award, Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX, among others, spoke at the event. Indian-American lawmakers Ami Bera, D-California, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, were also present. Pallone and Royce are on the Advisory Board of the IAFC.
“In many instances Pakistan has been a partner to the United States…,” Haley conceded, “But we cannot, tolerate its government or any other government giving safe haven to terrorists who target Americans. We will not tolerate it and we’re communicating that message to Pakistan more strongly than in the past,” Haley added, according to a Press Trust of India report.
There was also a message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the IAFC commending it for its work in promoting U.S.-India relations.
“For me the highlight was Ambassador Haley’s speech which praised Indian-Americans and Indian culture and criticized Pakistan,” Prasad Thotakura, president of the IAFC told News India Times. This year’s gala was better, according to Thotakura. “A lot more people showed interest because so many Indian-Americans are in Congress. People are also more aware and want to follow politics more closely,” he added. “Indian-Americans are also very anxious to see how the new administration’s policies are going to affect them and the bilateral relations with India,” he said.
Reps. Royce, Gabbard and George Holding, R-North Carolina, received IAFC’s National Service Award. The National Excellence Award was given to Dr. Prem Reddy, Avadesh Agarwal, Adish Agarwal, Yossef Bodansky and Pramila Raza.
Rep. Maloney issued a statement after the event in which she recounted her successful efforts in Congress to create a commemorative Diwali stamp, which was issued by the U.S. Postal Service a year ago on Diwali. Calling the stamp a “beautiful tribute” to a wonderful holiday, Maloney said, “I am thankful to have been embraced by the Indian American community and to have had the opportunity to participate in Diwali celebrations. The ideals it espouses make us better neighbors, friends, and citizens. I thank the Indian American community for sharing that with all New Yorkers and with all Americans.”
Rep. Gabbard, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific Subcommittee and the Democratic Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, spoke about bipartisan support behind strengthening mutually beneficial economic ties, building upon the existing U.S.-India security framework and a shared fight against terrorism, as well as expanding educational opportunities between the U.S. and India, a press release from her office said.