By Justin Sink
"It is clear that there needs to be a closer working relationship between the United States and India," Gabbard said. "How can we have a close relationship if decisionmakers in Washington know very little, if anything, about the religious beliefs, values and practices of India's 800 million Hindus?
"Hopefully, the presence in Congress of an American who happens to be Hindu will increase America's understanding of India as well as India's understanding of America."
In a statement released after her victory, Gabbard said her election would be an inspiration to Hindus across the country.
"On my last trip to the mainland, I met a man who told me that his teenage daughter felt embarrassed about her faith, but after meeting me, she's no longer feeling that way," Gabbard said.
"He was so happy that my being elected to Congress would give hope to hundreds and thousands of young Hindus in America, that they can be open about their faith and even run for office, without fear of being discriminated against or attacked because of their religion."