Washington: Applauding the role of Indian- Americans in strengthening bilateral ties, key US lawmaker and Governors have said the two countries, which are at the forefront of the global economy, can become "strong partners" in counter-terrorism and fields like trade and defence.

"In recent years, the relationship between the United States, one of the world's oldest democracies and India, the world's largest democracy, has grown by leaps and bounds. The two nations share a clear commitment to freedom and democracy, which has formed a strong basis for our friendship," said Senator John Cornyn, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus.

Senator Mark Warner, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, said that they have been working on how the two countries, which are friends, can become "strong partners".

"Partners in trade, partners economically, partners in defence. I think we've all seen both India and the United States be victims of terrorist attacks in recent times, particularly with some of the recent actions in Mumbai.

We need to make sure that we have this united front.

"And we in the Senate India Caucus want to do all we can to promote that friendship and most importantly that partnership," he said.

Both Warner and Cornyn along with other lawmakers and Governors appeared on a special television programme telecast on several networks on the occasion of India's Independence Day celebrations in the United States.

The programme was hosted by young Indian-American Riti Bhalla from New York, who has now made it an annual event since 2008 when she was 13.

"I do think there's an increasingly important role for Indian-Americans to reach out to their Senators, to reach out to their Congressmen, to say, regardless of what party they belong to, to say that the Senate India Caucus and the House India Caucus are important in terms of strengthening the ties between our countries," Warner said.

Making her maiden appearance on the show, South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley, said she is proud on being a daughter of Indian parents.

"A lot of the values that they taught me, we see across this country every day through our Indian community. Our Indian community in the United States continues to be the highest educated, makes the most income per capita, continues to be the least dependent on government assistance, but the one I'm most proud of – is the most charitable in their giving across this country," she said.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said that in government, science, business and the innovative economy of the future, his state and India are at the forefront of the global economy, pushing the limits of knowledge and imagination.

Appearing on the show, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced issuance of a proclamation in his state to mark August 15th as Indian Independence Day.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, "As you look back today on the many years since that important day in Indian history, it's clear that the words spoken on the eve of India's independence were true and prophetic. India stands today as a clear example of a nation that is awake, vital, free and independent."

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez said as the world's second most populous nation, India has capitalised on the industrious nature and the ingenuity of its people to make the country the tenth largest economy in the world and the fourth largest economy by purchasing power.

"President Barack Obama's trip to India last December underscored our strong bilateral relationship and our enduring political, economic and security cooperation. There is much to celebrate this independence day, besides the flag raising ceremonies and kite flying, that have come to mark the day in
India," he said.

Congressman Frank Pallone appealed to Indian Americans to write to their Senator or their Congressman and urge that the
House of Representatives or the Senate pass a resolution supporting India's permanent membership to the UN Security Council.