US Lawmakers Hail “Thriving” Economic Ties with India


July 21, 2015

By Geeta Goindi

Celebrate Surge in Indian Investments in the US at Capitol Hill Reception

July 21, 2015

By Geeta Goindi

Celebrate Surge in Indian Investments in the US at Capitol Hill Reception

At a Capitol Hill reception marking the release of a new CII-Grant Thornton economic report, 'Indian Roots, American Soil', are seen from left to right: Congresswoman Grace Meng; Mr Sumit Mazumder, President of CII; Congressman Pete Sessions; Congressman George Holding; Indian Ambassador Arun K. Singh; Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of CII; Congressman Ami Bera; Sumani Dash, Director and Head North America, CII; Congressman Joe Kennedy; Congressman Todd Rokita; Mr Vivek Sharma, Chairman of CII-IBF; and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann

Washington, DC – On July 14, Influential American lawmakers’ extolled economic ties with India at an event celebrating the surge in Indian foreign direct investment (FDI) into the US together with employment generation.

According to a new comprehensive report, ‘Indian Roots, American Soil’, by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Grant Thornton (GT), released at a reception on Capitol Hill, 100 Indian companies have invested over $15 billion and created 91,000 jobs in the US.  For the very first time, the survey presented a state-by-state breakdown of tangible investments made and jobs created by the companies which operate in diverse fields such as IT, telecom, health-care, manufacturing, financial services, construction, food and agriculture.

It was much cause for celebration as some two dozen members of Congress enthusiastically attended the reception, on Tuesday evening, organized by CII, India’s premier business association which serves as a trusted and reliable reference point for both Indian industry and the international business community.  On hand, were special guest Indian Ambassador Arun K. Singh, a delegation of CII member-company CEOs from India, members of the press and media.  Kapil Sharma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Wipro, served as the eloquent and witty master of ceremonies.

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, Democratic Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, told a packed room in the spacious Capitol Visitor Center, “A cornerstone of relations between India and the US is the thriving commercial exchange between the countries.  As India surges forward to become the fourth fastest growing source of FDI into the US, it is critical that we recognize the positive impact of Indian business investments in the country”.

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia addressing a Capitol Hill reception organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), celebrating the surge in Indian investments in the US

The influential Senator noted that in the Commonwealth of Virginia, “Indian companies have been key players in creating jobs and engaging communities”.  He told the gathering, “I hope to see this trend continue in the future with increased Indian business operations in the country”.

According to the CII-GT survey, the top five states in which Indian companies have generated the maximum employment are New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois and New York, while Texas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New York and New Jersey have the highest Indian FDI.  It is interesting to note that Indian companies have not only contributed to the US economy in investments and jobs created, but also in research and development, skills training, and local corporate social responsibility initiatives such as education programs.

At the reception on Capitol Hill, Ambassador Singh pointed out that “Indian companies are not just investing billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs across states and sectors” in the US, “they have also become significant stakeholders in the growth and prosperity of their local communities.  Their linkages run deep through the support extended by them to education programs and capacity building”, he said.  “The CII study draws attention to the growing contribution and influence of the Indian industry which forms an important component of our growing and vibrant relationship with the United States”.

Democratic Congressman Ami Bera told the gathering, “As the only Indian-American currently serving in Congress and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, I’ve seen first-hand the contributions the Indian-American community has made to our country.  I also believe that growing the economic partnership between India and the US will benefit both economies and bring new jobs to Sacramento County”, a large part of which comes under the 7th District of California which he represents.

At a Capitol Hill reception organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), celebrating the surge in Indian investments in the US, are seen clockwise from top left: Indian Ambassador Arun K. Singh; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; Congressman Mike Honda; and Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis

The lawmaker emphasized, “I’m proud to help advance the economic and political dialogue between India and the US.  The Indian-American community and Indian-American business owners have been a critical part of the economic and social fabric of the nation and I hope to see the United States continue to positively engage with these groups in the future”, he added.

Congressman George Holding of North Carolina, Republican Co-Chair of the House India Caucus, declared, “The friendship between the United States and India has grown stronger over the past year, and both our nations are better for it”.

Looking around the packed room, he said, “Indian businesses have brought jobs to North Carolina and, at the same time, doors have opened for American companies to offer their goods and services to people in India.  I am glad to see, as today’s event proves, that the diplomatic and business bonds between our nations continue to grow stronger”.

Congressman Jim McDermott (Democrat – Washington), a founding member of the House India Caucus and long-time champion of India-US relations who has been to India 26 times and visited every state except those in the northeast due to security concerns, greeted the gathering with the traditional ‘Namaste’.

The lawmaker recalled his first trip to India in 1990 when the economy was closed and the transformation thereafter when economic reforms were implemented.  “It is truly a miraculous change in a very short period of time”, he marveled.

Congressman McDermott asserted, “The face of our economic relationship will change over time because it isn’t a matter of us going to India and using cheap labor”.  Rather, brilliant graduates of the “IITs are driving the change you see today”, he told the gathering.

Democratic Congressman Mike Honda, who represents the 17th District of California which is the heart of Silicon Valley, pointed out that 25 percent of CEOs in his region are of Indian origin.

Democratic Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey averred, “As a Representative from a state with one of the largest and most thriving Indian-American communities in the country, I know just how much Indian-owned companies contribute to our economy.  In New Jersey, and across the country, these companies create jobs and invest in our communities”, she said.  “We must continue to highlight the positive role they frequently play here in the US, and find opportunities to expand our relationships further”.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat – Texas), an active proponent of the US-India civil nuclear deal, declared “India has been our friend, it is our friend now, it will be our friend tomorrow”!

She spoke of how the 1960s American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent movement.  “I believe we owe you a great debt of gratitude”, she told the gathering.  “Let the world follow India”.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee emphasized, “Let us create jobs.  Let them be here in America, let them be in India.  Let our bond never be broken”!

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of CII, underscored that “India is now the fourth fastest-growing source of investments into America.  This is a very critical aspect of the burgeoning bilateral US-India business story and one that has an immediate and visible positive impact on the local communities where these companies operate.  It’s a story that needs to be told and re-told”, he said.

About the reception on Capitol Hill marking the release of the new study, Banerjee called it “CII’s flagship event” and part of the association’s “ongoing effort to highlight the positive stories of Indian companies’ contributions to the US economy and society”.

Sumit Mazumder, President of CII, believed “Indian industry today is bullish on the US-India partnership.  Our companies are deeply committed to the US market and are well integrated into the local communities where they are investing and creating jobs”, he told the gathering.  “Prime Minister Modi and President Obama’s vision for the US-India relationship is in many ways best exemplified through these Indian companies in America that though have Indian roots, but are completely enmeshed into US soil”, he said.

Participating companies in the Capitol Hill event included Bank of Baroda, Birlasoft, Cyient, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, EsselPropack, Exim Bank, ICICI Bank, Infosys, ITC Infotech, Larsen & Tourbo, Mahindra USA, Mindteck, NIIT, Piramal Healthcare, State Bank of India, Sun Pharma, Taj Hotels and Resorts, Tata Group/Communications/Consultancy Services, Torrent Pharma, Wipro and Wockhardt.

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