In late February, Indian Ambassador Navtej Sarna received over 25 Governors of US States as well as representatives of US and Indian industry, chambers of commerce, think tanks, and media at his residence to honor members of the National Governors Association (NGA). The reception was part of the four-day agenda of the NGA 2017 Winter Meeting, where governors crafted policy positions on topics such as economic development, education, health services, cybersecurity, and infrastructure. The Meeting set a record, with at least 46 governors in attendance. The reception was also one of the largest gatherings at the Ambassador’s residence in recent years.
At the event, officials from both governments emphasized the flourishing of US-India ties. Ambassador Sarna pointed out that the US-India relationship was mutually beneficial and represented the shared values of freedom and democracy – a sentiment that Congressman Paul Ryan later echoed in his meeting with the Indian Foreign Secretary on March 1. Virginia Governor and NGA Chair Terry McAuliffe also recognized the close strategic alliance between the two countries, called India “America’s greatest strategic partner,” and acknowledged the contribution of India to the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions in the US. The Governor encouraged his peers to visit India and take trade delegations there as he himself has been to the country 15 times.
In 2015, more than 400,000 US jobs were directly or indirectly supported by Indian tech companies; the annual growth of jobs supported by Indian tech industry was 10% over the past five years. In 2015, the US imported nearly $70 billion in goods and services from India, and exported nearly $40 billion to the country. Between 2006 and 2015, the amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from US to India nearly tripled and FDI from India to the US increased more than six times.
Anh Pham is a Research intern at the East West Center in Washington, DC and Master's Candidate in International Affairs at the School of International Service, American University.