India, A Major World Power Now – 2nd Houston India Conference


HOUSTON: ‘India’s time has come’ was the general agreement at the 2nd Houston India Conference, held at Houston, Texas, on March 8. Vikram Singh Mehta, Chairman, Brookings India, David Mulford, Former US Ambassador to India, Nisha Biswal, President, US-India Business Council, Aparna Subramani, Executive Director, World Bank, Sandeep Sen, CEO, Aegis Ltd were amongst the speakers.  

The 2nd Houston India conference brought together thought leaders in industry, trade, diplomacy, economics and journalism from India, NY and TX to focus on investment opportunities in India, India Texas trade and the Make In India initiative.

Ambassador David Mulford told the conference that India was already a major world power and had to be the US’s first geopolitical priority in the world. The US has to focus on building relations with India on its own and not clubbed with another country. He welcomed the measures against Pakistan.


Executive Director, World Bank, Aparna Subramani, and Sandeep Sen, CEO Aegis made presentations on Investing in India, and said that ‘big bang reforms’ were powering the surge in FDI to India. Vikram Mehta, President, Brookings India, spoke of the unifying national narrative in India of a growing middle class and economic aspirations that provided an investment opportunity for US businesses. He also responded to a question about corruption by saying that ‘ethical’ businesses had grown and are flourishing in India.

Nisha Biswal, President, US-India Business Council said that the “long bet” that the US had taken on India was paying off. The future of India-US relations was in ‘Going Global and Going local’ – increasing convergence at international and sub-national levels. Zachary Dell, the scion of the Dell family, and Sapphira Goradia, of the Goradia Foundation, spoke of their work in the social entrepreneurship and impact investing space in India.

Dell said that a sanitation revolution was underway in India, which could be powered by cutting edge engineering and production techniques for the manufacture of hi-tech, low cost toilets. Joseph Emmett talked about using Vedanta as a management tool.


Conference Chair, Jiten Agarwal, spoke about the recent shipments of petroleum and LNG from Texas, and beginning of strong US India Skills collaboration to develop skills ecosystem in India following the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the United States.

The event was sponsored by the Consulate General of India, Houston, Expedien, McDermott International, a Houston based company which is investing in India. The Conference was moderated by Sunanda Vashisth, noted political commentator. Consul General of India, Anupam Ray said that the conference was a platform for people involved with writing the India story to help the next generation write the new chapters. Jagdip Ahluwalia, a co-founder of the IACCGH, reflected in how far the US-India trade equation has progressed in recent time and how it has been helping with jobs creation in Texas.