Hoeven Meets with Top Indian Government and Business Officials on Trade and U.S.-Asian Security
NEW DELHI – Senator John Hoeven, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a delegation of U.S. Senators met Wednesday in New Delhi with top Indian government and business leaders to discuss expanded trade opportunities between the two nations and mutual security issues.
India has a large and expanding middle class of approximately 50 million people, which is estimated to grow ten-fold by 2025. It also has a well-educated workforce and growing demand for U.S. goods.
“With 1.2 billion people, India is the second most populous nation in the world,” Hoeven said. “With an average economic growth rate of about 9 percent, the country’s growing consumer base represents an enormous market for American and North Dakotan goods and services. Creating a better environment for mutual trade could generate real business opportunities and jobs for American workers.”
Hoeven discussed ways to enhance trade relations between North Dakota and India with Indian Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambaram and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma, as well as a group of high-level Indian business leaders.
They spoke at a meeting hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), an organization similar to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which works to promote India’s economic development. The Senator proposed organizing a trade delegation between CII and the North Dakota Trade Office to partner North Dakota and Indian companies.
Hoeven also met with Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, and other high-ranking Indian security officials.
The Senator said India is a natural ally of the United States. Furthermore, the two countries are the world’s largest democracies, with representative governments and commitments to basic civil liberties. India is also strategically situated in Central Asia and borders both Pakistan and China. The United States and India share a common interest in a stable and peaceful Asia and the free flow of commerce and resources in that part of the world.
India is already engaged in the Afghan mission, contributing $1.5 billion in aid to help Afghanistan build infrastructure. Hoeven and the Indian security officials discussed ways to further work together in Afghanistan, as well as ways to address the growing level of Islamic extremism and terrorism in Pakistan. According to Hoeven, the United States and India now conduct joint military exercises, and there is more the two countries can do together to build a strategic relationship.
“As a dynamic democracy in the heart of Asia, India is a natural ally of the United States,” Hoeven said. “It makes sense for both the United States and North Dakota to maintain a dialogue and expand commercial relations with India. This enormous nation is emerging as a great economic power, and it’s in our interest to work together for our mutual benefit.”
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