On the future of Indo-U.S. relations, Rep. Ami Bera said, "We have to look at the big picture. Don't lose sight," he said, adding that Indian Americans will play an important role in this. (Facebook photo)

WASHINGTON — A top Indian American congressman has expressed optimism about the future of the Indo-U.S. relationship but warned against taking it for granted as there will be bumps in the road, like incidents of hate crime.

"I am very optimistic about the (India-U.S.) relationship. But we have to be very intentional. We can't take the relationship for granted," Ami Bera, the three-term Democratic Indian American congressman from California, said.

"There will be bumps in the road," he said, citing hate crimes and immigration as some of those bumps.

"We have to look at the big picture. Don't lose sight," he said, adding that Indian Americans will play an important role in this.

Bera was speaking at a round table jointly organized by U.S. India Friendship Council and U.S. India Business Council at the Capitol Visitor Center here.

"From our perspective, the relationship can't be based on one administration and another administration. This can be the defining relationship of the 21st century," he said.

"We will continue to build the relationship between the members of the Congress and the Indian MPs because those are lasting relationships," he added.

The trajectory of the Indo-U.S. relationship has been phenomenal, he said.

Bera said India is playing a key role in stabilizing the Indian Ocean region.

"As we look at the partnership between (former) President Obama and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, you can see the chemistry there and the mutual respect," he said.

"The news coming out from the conversation between President Donald Trump and Modi is a positive sign," he said.

"The fact that the prime minister would be visiting the United States again very shortly is a very positive sign," he added.

Referring to the hate crimes that is impacting the South Asian community, in particular Indian Americans, Bera said, "This is not who we are as a country. What’s worrisome to me is how it is impacting our reputation around the world."

Ro Khanna, Indian American congressman from California, expressed his optimism about the country's future even though there have been some unfortunate incidents.

"We have the most tolerant, most open democracy in the world," he said.

Senator Joe Donnelly from Indiana said India and the United States enjoy a very special relationship. 

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