As Ambassador, I spend much time explaining the win-win benefits of the U.S.-India economic and commercial relationship to Indians, Indian businesses, and Indian government officials. Yet, this same effort must be done in the United States so it gave me great pleasure to meet with over 100 business leaders in Chicago as a guest of the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs. I discussed the many reasons why President Obama was correct in elevating our bilateral relationship with India to a global strategic partnership with the U.S. and highlighted the many attractions that India has to offer the companies in the audience that are exploring entering the Indian market. For American companies, if you can be patient and come to India with a long-term strategy, you can be very successful.
Archive for the ‘Business’ Category
Meeting with the 25 business leaders at CII and with Gautam Adani in Ahmedabad highlights the importance of targeting other cities in addition to Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad to foster economic cooperation between our two countries. The business that can take place between our two countries in Gujarat demonstrates the win-win proposition that increased commerce brings. At a lunch with CII, the managing director of Dishman Pharmaceuticals explained how his U.S. facility employs 500 American workers in the U.S. Opportunities abound throughout Gujarat for American businesses in such sectors as ports, clean energy, infrastructure, education, and pharmaceuticals, to name a few. We can and will do much more to make American businesses aware of the many possibilities to do business in this state.
We have enjoyed fantastic relations and a number of successful events this past year with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) at our side. They were there for many of the key moments during President Obama’s visit; they gave us wonderful support for our National Day reception; and they were strong advocates during our great showing at Aero India in Bangalore. Chairman Dinesh Keskar and Director Ajay Singha have done superb work so it gave me great pleasure to be the keynote speaker in Dinesh’s last event as the AmCham chairman at the AmCham’s 19th annual general meeting April 29. AmCham’s efforts play an important role in creating American jobs, achieving the President’s National Export Initiative, and championing American business interests. These are our Mission’s primary economic objectives to increase U.S. exports and produce more jobs for Americans. We are fortunate to have such a great partner in AmCham assisting us in our efforts.
You could feel the excitement in the air for American businesses at my reception at the ITC Windsor before the opening of Aero India. American companies were leading the way at the biggest Aero India show in its history with the largest delegation and almost 50 exhibitors at our first ever U.S. Pavilion at Aero India. American companies large and small were represented with the most innovative and sophisticated of products. Secretary Locke and I were able to test Boeing and Lockheed Martin simulators, see GE engines that power so many of the aircraft on display at Aero India, and feel the protection of TenCate’s flame resistant material and suits. It is not only the big airplanes and products, but the software, technology systems, braking components, and engines that also produce jobs in America. The quality and reliability of these products with the most up-to-date technology will be great additions for the Indian armed forces as it continues to upgrade older equipment with newer models as well as expand its capabilities with new equipment.
From Super Vipers to Super Hercules to Super Hornets, the Aero India show was a super event. The Indian Ministry of Defense and CII did a terrific job organizing the biggest air show in South Asia and the biggest in the history of Aero India. Attending the opening ceremony, I was amazed at the grace and maneuverability of the many planes, both Indian and foreign, as well as the skill of the pilots. As they flew by, performing their stunts, the roar of the engines would hit you like a punch in the chest. The acrobatic displays of the Indian Air Force with the tri-colors trailing brought loud applause and delight to the crowd. The fighter jets showed off their amazing technology with great turns, spins, loops, and power. A super start for Aero India.
This past week we hosted a reception for “Vital Voices” at Roosevelt House, with close to 400 women from all over Asia, to highlight empowerment, human rights, and economic opportunity for women.
I met with women from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Nepal. People spoke eloquently about their personal stories in their home countries and how important it is to share best practices. When women succeed, their children succeed, their communities do better, and the world does better. As we continue to practice a US policy that takes a regional and strategic approach to challenges in Asia, this evening’s inspiration will last a long time. Tell me what issues you believe are the most important for India’s long term development.
We all know the people and faces of the successful and respected business leaders in both the United States and India—names like Gates, Tata, Ambani, and Walton are highlighted and familiar to most of us. “Social entrepreneurs” are not nearly as popular, but they are certainly starting to bring gradual transformations to Indian society and to the quality of life for this nation’s poor. According to United Nations statistics, well over a quarter of India’s billion plus population live below the poverty line and one in every two Indians have no access to sanitation. Social entrepreneurs target investments and business ideas to fulfill social needs, such as access to water or solar power, and are providing the results for social change necessary for India to have genuine inclusive and sustainable growth. I recently met with a dozen leaders in this field working on low cost health care designed to give poor women good pre-natal and post-natal outcomes; a group that provides pure and affordable drinking water for poor villagers; and a business that develops accessible solar lighting systems for remote areas in India with no options for conventional power.
The journey towards developing commercially sustainable business models which target and assist the underprivileged are building an economic ladder to the middle class. Give me your ideas for new business models or social entrepreneurs you might be working with in India.