3rd Houston-India Conference: “Mutual Relationships are Limitless”

Speakers and conference dignitaries gather for group photo.

HOUSTON – Overwhelming consensus at ICCR Houston India Conference held in Houston, Texas, on January 11 2019 was that “Possibilities of India-USA relationship are limitless”.

The 3rd Houston India conference brought together thought leaders in industry, trade, diplomacy, economics and journalism from India, Washington, DC and Texas, USA to focus on investment opportunities in India, and India-Texas bi-lateral trade. The conference had participants representing over 80 companies including ExxonMobil, BP, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Expedien, L&T Infotech, Goldman Sachs, Texas Medical Center, University of Houston, University of Pennsylvania, World Bank, Rice University, Reliance and Mahindra USA among many others in addition to the local government officials, journalists and Think tank experts.

The Conference was moderated by Sunanda Vashisht, noted political commentator and Co-founder of new age media company MyIndMakers. Jagdip Ahluwalia, Executive Director IACCGH was the master of ceremony at the conference.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner pointed out that Houston is the 4 th busiest gateway for trade between India and USA and emphasized the importance of a direct flight between Houston and India. A direct flight will help grow the bilateral trade relations between Houston and India, he remarked. Houston Mayor Turner and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have led two successful trade delegations to India recently.

Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, Government of India talked about the building of New India, an economy based on innovation and rule of law.
He said that the economic fundamentals in India are strong, and the challenge is to push the economy into an even higher growth trajectory.
Sandip Sen, President, Emerging Businesses, Essar Group explained the key drivers for the growth of the Indian economy and talked about the emerging industries and opportunities to invest in it including digital payments, e-commerce, startups and AI/ML.

Dr. Djordjija Petkoski, Lecturer at the Wharton School of Management and Advisor to the World Bank said that India is a laboratory where any technology can be developed and tested for it robustness. He emphasized on the role of domestic and multi-national corporations in community building and strengthening democracy in India.

Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, talked about delivering democracy with a focus on governance.
He discussed the financial inclusion programs such as Jan Dhan Yojana, banking reforms and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in India.

Dr. Jyoti Kiran Shukla, Former Chairman of Rajasthan State Finance Commission, talked about how India is developing per day such as 1300 houses built everyday under Pradhan Mantri Jan Awas Yojana, 8400 toilets created per day under the Swachh Bharat and 2,86,752 beneficiaries per day under the Jan Dhan Yojana, to name a few.

Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Arjun Subramanian discussed the Indo- US Strategic partnership and how it has been growing steadily over the past two decades and is on an irreversible trajectory. He also talked about how India has progressed from a reactive to a proactive society, which has also led to the stability of the economy from a security perspective.

Dr. Makarand Paranjape, Director Indian Institute of Advanced Study, quoted Dr. Raja Rao and mentioned that the alliance between India and US existed naturally and was thwarted by the external forces. He said that the Indian diaspora has become such a critical mass in the US, that going forward, the friendship between the two countries will only grow further.

Brian Mclaughlin, Senior Vice President, McDermott, spoke on growing presence of McDermott in India and how well educated, relevant and mobile workforce in India has been helping McDemott with its growth. He also mentioned about the absolute fair and transparent procurement process in India.

Ashok Belani, CTO, Schulmberger, talked about the huge role India plays in the global hydrocarbon market and the initiatives Petroleum Minister of India Dharmendra Pradhan has taken towards improving the energy industry in India. Conference Chair and CEO of Expedien, Jiten Agarwal, welcomed everyone and spoke about the successes of the first two conferences held in 2017 and 2018 in terms of the economic activities including several commercial deals that have taken place as a result of the networking during conferences.