The 2.5 million strong Indian American communities in the United States has been growing in affluence and political strength and has developed into a force for closer and stronger ties between their adopted country and their nation of origin. Their active cooperation and interaction at different levels with the Government of India as well as with the U.S. Administration provides a bridge between the two countries.The passage of the Henry J. Hyde Act by the U.S. Congress saw the Indian-American community coming of age in the United States. Their efforts in support of this Act were magnificent. Cultural ties between the two countries are largely driven by the private sector. Indian music, dance, art and literature are widely appreciated in the United States.Indian cuisine is a favorite with many Americans and Indian films are reaching out to wider audiences here. Efforts are currently underway to spread Indian culture to a more popular level as well as ensuring that Indian artists are able to perform at mainstream theatres and halls.Students from India continue to flock to the U.S. especially for higher, University level education. India is now the number one country sending students to the U.S. with approximately 80,000 students each year, far surpassing China.US Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes visited India in April 2007 with a delegation of 5 US University Presidents and pledged that Indian students would find it easier to obtain visas to study in the US.