Opening a state office in India will be a benefit to Georgia’s trade relationship with the country, Ronen Sen, India’s ambassador to the United States, said in Atlanta June 5.

“There is great potential. I’m struck by how much we can do,” Mr. Sen said at a breakfast briefing on India held June 5 at the Southern Center for International Studies.

He cited biotechnologies, telecommunications, and defense technologies as growing industries in the country and said that he was in touch with a number of Atlanta-based CEOs who were interested in doing business in India.

Mr. Sen was in Atlanta June 3-5 to meet with local business officials as well as with members of the Indian-American community here. But he also wanted to express his support for the opening of a Georgia representative office in India, he said.

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Ken Stewart traveled to India earlier this year to scout out a location for a Georgia office in the country, but no formal decision of where to locate an office has been made.

Mr. Sen also addressed the idea of opening an Indian consulate general in Atlanta, which has been an objective of the city’s Indian immigrant community for several years.

“I am thinking of setting up two additional consulates within the next three months,” he said. “I hope I can make a decision.”

Atlanta’s Indian community, which represents more than 40,000 people, is served by a consulate general in Houston.

In addition to getting a consulate general to open here, Atlanta’s Indian-Americans are also seeking to develop a formal Sister City relationship between a municipality in India and the City of Atlanta.

Kenneth Cutshaw, India’s honorary consul in Atlanta, hosted a public forum May 30 to allow individuals to voice their opinions on which Indian city would be a viable Sister City match for Atlanta. About 100 people attended the forum during which formal presentations in favor of the Indian cities of Ahmedabad, Banaglore and Hyderbad were made. Individuals representing Ahmedabad also presented a written statement from the city’s mayor to start a Sister City relationship with Atlanta.

A task-force of about 20 individuals who represent various Indian organizations across the city are expected to meet within the coming weeks to decide which Indian city should pursue a relationship with Atlanta, said Mr. Cutshaw.

In addition to the Southern Center breakfast, Mr. Sen also participated in a dinner ceremony held at World Trade Center Atlanta June 5 that was organized by the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. And he met with the Indian-American community July 3 outside of Atlanta.

Prior to becoming India’s ambassador to the U.S. in 2004, Mr. Sen served as India’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He has also served as an ambassador to Germany, Russia and Mexico and has worked as a joint secretary to the prime minister, responsible for foreign affairs, defense and science and technology.

Georgia exported $194 million in commodities to India in 2006, up 21 percent from the year before, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The state imported $423 million from India during the same time period, representing a 27.5 percent increase from 2005.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce – Susan Stottlemyer, executive director (678) 230-3283

Southern Center for International Studies – (404) 261-5763