Texas Governor Leads Business Development Mission to India

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by Karin Silitonga
Governor Greg Abbot and Prime Minister Modi discuss ways to continue strengthening the bond between India and Texas. [Image: Office of the Prime Minister of India]

From March 22nd to 30th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott visited India to lead a business development mission, making it his fourth international development trip since he took office.  The delegation visited the cities of Mumbai, Bengaluru, Agra, and New Delhi to attract more trade and investment opportunities, promote stories of successful economic cooperation, and highlight the growing ties between Texas and India.

During the Mission, Governor Abbott met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making it the first time that Prime Minister Modi has met with a US governor. The two met at the Prime Minister’s residence in New Delhi, and discussed potential opportunities for cooperation in the future, along with ways to strengthen relations between Texas and India. Prime Minister Modi was also visited by a bipartisan US congressional delegation last year, emphasizing both US and Indian commitment to enhancing bilateral ties.

Additionally, Meetings with Indian ministers took place, with discussions ranging from plans for a direct flight between India and Texas, to potential ways to increase energy trade. Governor Abbott also engaged with the business community, as he met with various executives from Indian companies, including Reliance Industries Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, and others with branch operations located in Texas. One successful outcome was the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with JSW USA, the US subsidiary of Indian company JSW Steel. The Memorandum will help facilitate the development of the steel industry in Texas, and JSW USA has agreed to consider a $500 million investment in their steel manufacturing facility in Baytown, Texas.

In Texas alone, US exports to India supported nearly 18,000 jobs in 2015, while Indian Multi-National Enterprises (MNEs) have invested $3.8 billion in the state. In that same year, Indian foreign direct investment in the United States totaled to $9.2 billion, making India the 7th largest investor in the United States among Asia Pacific countries. Over 200 Indian companies operate in the United States, and this Mission is integral in helping more Indian businesses to expand to the Lone Star State.  

Karunia "Karin" Silitonga is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a recent graduate of Baylor University.