The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston hosted a reception for the Indian Ambassador to Washington, His Excellency, Dr. S. Jaishankar . This was the first visit of the Ambassador to any city outside Washington since he took charge in December 2013. The Reception was attended by a cross section of the Greater Houston Business Community including the leadership of BP Americas, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Houston Methodist, Kindred, Memorial Herrman, Halliburton and a host of small and mid-size firms from the energy, technology, healthcare, law, retail and infrastructure sectors.
IACCGH Executive Director, Jagdip Ahluwalia, in his opening remarks explained the difference the chamber had made since its formation in 1999 by helping facilitate a relationship between M D Anderson Cancer Center and Tata Cancer Center Mumbai, by encouraging BMC Software to establish a center in India which has grown to 1,700 strong in Pune, by encouraging Continental Airlines to start non- stop flights between India and the US and by encouraging Mahindra Tractors to enhance its footprint in Houston.
IACCGH President Sanjay Ramabhadran in his welcoming remarks highlighted the vibrancy of Houston’s business community. He emphasized the Chamber’s mission to facilitate bi-lateral trade between the Greater Houston region and India; being the Business Voice of the Indo-American community; facilitating access to the purchasing power of the indo-American community and promoting the success of the Chamber’s members – as corporations, entrepreneurs and professionals.
The Consul General of India in Houston, Mr. P Harish, introduced the Ambassador.
The Indian Ambassador Dr. S. Jaishankar remarked that when he started dealing with the United States as a young Indian Foreign Service officer 33 years ago, he could never have imagined the two nations would be where they are today.
India and the U.S. are close political allies and have expanded cooperation in trade, business and the fight against terrorism and looked forward to greater cooperate in areas line business, defense, aviation, knowledge, education, research.
He felt that even though bilateral trade has expanded four-fold in the last eight years, it is not enough. The government in India in it’s efforts to increase business confidence has issued clarifications on the tax rules, investments by foreign manufacturers, etc and has cleared 300 projects, mostly in infrastructure that will require an investment of $100 billion.
Impressed after his visit to the Sabine Pass gas terminal earlier in the day he said in two years LNG will be exported to India as part of the accord between GAIL, India’s gas authority, and Houston-based Cheniere Energy, Inc providing 15 percent of India’s gas consumption .
The Chamber presented IACCGH Advisor Dr. Renu Khator, Chancellor UH System with a special memento on her being honored by the Indian Government with the prestigious “Pravasi Bharathiya Samman” Award.
Other guests included IACCGH Advisor David Leebron, President – Rice University; Richard Huebner, President-HMSDC,; April Day, Executive Director-WBEA and Steve Recobs, Director-United States Export Assistance Center .