Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., has joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus, stating that he wants to promote peace in the region.
The Indian American politician, who is serving his second term in the House, told the Press Trust of India: "I am a proud member of the U.S.-India Caucus and have supported legislation condemning the terrorist bombing in Kashmir and promoting stronger defense ties between the U.S. and India.”
"At the same time, I believe it's critical to engage all regional players, including India and Pakistan, to stabilize Afghanistan so that the U.S. can withdraw troops. I will continue to pursue the American objectives of a strong U.S.-India relationship and peace and stability in the region," he told the India-based wire service.
The Congressional Pakistan Caucus was founded in May by Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Jim Banks, R-Indiana. Lee also sits on the House Congressional Caucus for India and Indian Americans. The latter is the largest single-country Caucus in the House.
Khanna joined the Caucus shortly after the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who met with President Donald Trump at the White House on July 22. Khan’s visit set off a kerfuffle between India and the U.S. as Trump stated that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate the Kashmir conflict.
The Indian government immediately refuted Trump’s claim, stating that Modi had made no such ask. Khan, however, did ask Trump to mediate the issue, saying he has reached out to India numerous times without success.
The Modi government Aug. 5 revoked Kashmir’s special autonomous status, carving Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh into two Union territories. Kashmir has been on lockdown since the move.
In a tweet, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Asad Khan thanked Khanna for joining the Caucus, and discussed his July 26 meeting with the congressman.
"Had a wonderful meeting with Congressman Ro Khanna. We discussed the prime minister's (Imran Khan) recent visit to the U.S. and ways to promote Pakistan-U.S. relations. Congressman Khanna took keen interest in promoting peace in South Asia. Thanked him for joining the Pakistan Caucus," Khan wrote on Twitter.
Khanna responded in a tweet: “Thank you Ambassador Khan for your time and for a constructive and candid conversation about ways to bring peace in Afghanistan and South Asia, tackle terrorism, and protect women’s rights and human rights.”