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Bobby Jindal, Congressman meets Rumsfeld, discusses defence matters

WASHINGTON, January 21 2005

Freshman Congressman Bobby Jindal met US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to emphasise the "strategic role" Louisiana state plays in America's war against terror. The Indian American, elected Republican from Louisiana in last November's elections, organised a meeting for new Republicans on the Hill on the eve of President George W. Bush's second term inauguration.

Jindal said he had organised Wednesday's meeting with Rumsfeld as he wanted his colleagues to be briefed by the defence secretary early on in the 109th Congress.

"The US faces a number of challenges to its military that are being addressed as we take office and it is important for us to be fully informed as we go to work," Jindal said.

"I wanted to make sure my colleagues and I had an opportunity to speak with representatives of Department of Defence, Secretary Rumsfeld especially." Jindal had sought the appointment and initiated Wednesday's trip to the Pentagon, his staff told IANS.

The briefing, which took place at the Pentagon, covered a variety of topics including the 'war on terror' and the modernisation of the military to fight the new, non-conventional enemy, his office said.

"I am committed to maintaining the power and strength of America's military," Jindal asserted.

A release from his Capitol Hill office said the briefing gave Congressman Jindal the opportunity to speak with Secretary Rumsfeld and his top aides, including the chiefs, "about protecting the military's presence in the state of Louisiana to enhance the strategic role Louisiana plays in the war against terror".

In all his pronouncements, Jindal makes sure to put his state front and centre, playing to his constituents in the first district of Louisiana.

"Louisiana is proud of our bases and proud of the men and women in uniform who call our state home," Jindal said.

"I think Louisiana plays a strategic role in the nation's war against terror, and it is important for our nation's security that we maintain that activity."

"This opportunity to speak with Secretary Rumsfeld allowed me to relay to him that feeling and to relay to him that I will be a tireless fighter in the protection of our current bases through the Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) process, our shipbuilding responsibilities, and the many other roles Louisiana assumes in this battle."

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