February 24, 2017
Ambassador of India Navtej Sarna hosted a reception for the Governors of the States of the US at his residence today. This event, the first of its nature held in recent years, was attended by more than 25 Governors, including Governors of Virginia, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virgin Islands, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Senior representatives of Governors of California, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania were also in the audience.
The reception coincided with the Winter Meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA) of the United States which is currently underway in Washington D.C. Founded in 1908, NGA is one of Washington D.C.'s most respected public policy organizations and is called the "collective voice" of the nation's governors. Its prestigious membership includes the governors of all 55 US' states, territories and commonwealths.
Apart from the Governors and their spouses, there was strong presence from US and Indian industry as well as chambers of commerce, think-tanks and prominent media personalities.
Welcoming the guests, Ambassador Sarna noted that this evening interaction reflected the solid ground of bipartisan political and popular support on which the India-US strategic partnership is based. He emphasized that the India-US relationship is a symbiotic one which embodies our shared values of freedom, democracy and federation.
Ambassador underlined the particularly fruitful economic relationship between India and the United States that has greatly benefitted our two countries- providing jobs, creating resources and making both countries globally competitive.
Urging US companies to be part of the Indian success story, Ambassador said that India's booming economy creates strong demand for U.S. goods, helping to create jobs and prosperity. Ambassador added that Indian companies operate in most U.S. states and are present in diverse sectors like IT and telecommunications, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, education, financial service and manufacturing.
Ambassador drew attention to the immense contribution of the high tech sector in promoting bilateral economic cooperation. From 2011-15, studies by reputed business houses reveal that more than 400,000 jobs have been directly and indirectly supported by the Indian tech companies recording a growth of 10% annually. Over the last 5 years, Indian tech companies have paid over $20 billion as taxes, $7 billion towards social security contributions and impacted over 120,000 American lives through Corporate Social Responsibility contributions.
While summing up, Ambassador said that since US and India are both federal in their polity and governance systems, States will always have a critical role to play in spurring growth and facilitating investments. India's Prime Minister, who has himself been the Chief Minister of a State for more than a decade, is a strong believer in 'cooperative federalism'. This platform of cooperation between the Indian Embassy and NGA thus provides us with fertile ground for fruitful and active cooperation between State level authorities of our two countries.
On the behalf of NGA, its Chair, Gov. McAuliffe of Virginia highlighted the rapid strides and holistic growth in the bilateral relationship. Fondly recalling his eleven day visit to India in November 2015 (as the head of a Trade and Investment Mission), he highlighted the various opportunities that a growing Indian market represents to US companies and investments. On behalf of NGA, he assured the gathering that NGA and its components- the US State Governments, will continue to work closely with India to assure a safe and secure work and living environment for Indian citizens in the US as well as a productive business environment conditioned by a favourable regulatory and legal set-up.
To express their appreciation and regard, Vice Chair of NGA, Gov. Sandoval then presented a memento to Ambassador Sarna. The evening's formal programme concluded with the screening of several visual presentations showcasing the themes of 'Invest and Make in India' jointly prepared and produced by the Ministry of External Affairs, Invest India Corporation, NASSCOM and the Embassy of India in Washington DC.
Ambassador Navtej Sarna with Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad.
Ambassador Navtej Sarna addressing the gathering.
Guests in attendance.
Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, Chair of NGA with Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval
Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, Chair of NGA addressing the gathering.
Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, Chair of NGA with Ambassador Navtej Sarna. Also seen is Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval.
Family Photo with Governors.