Despite the world’s economic problems, India’s gross national product is expected to grow at more than 8 percent this year, and the prospects for cross-investment between India and the United States are at an all-time high, according to several experts who will be speaking at an Atlanta symposium Tuesday, June 17.
Investment by Indian and U.S. companies in each other’s businesses are to provide the best opportunities for strengthening bilateral commercial ties, Lalit Dhingra, president of NIIT Technologies Inc., a global information technology solutions firm servicing customers in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, told GlobalAtlanta.
Raymond E. Vickery, senior vice president at the Washington-based international business consulting firm StoneBridge International LLC, said that as India shows “a new sense of self-confidence in its ability to compete,” outward investment has grown and the U.S.-India business relationship has seen a “new dynamic.”
“Over $23 billion was invested by Indian companies in 2007 and the figures should top this for 2008. Indian companies are making money and increasing their international skills and competitiveness,” said Mr. Vickery, a former assistant secretary at the Commerce Department.
Ani Agnihotri, an organizer of the conference and managing partner of the U.S. India Business Research Center, said the conference will help companies and individuals navigate business opportunities in India.
Attendees should include anyone “contemplating doing business with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and those who are studying economic forces associated with the globalization of world economies,” he said.
The conference, titled “India and the U.S.: Growing Market Opportunities,” is also being organized by the Georgia Tech Center for International Business Education and Research.
Mr. Dhingra and Mr. Vickery are to be joined by 13 other industry and regional experts including Anil Sharan, counselor, Indian Embassy in Washington, Kenneth Cutshaw, honorary consul of India in Atlanta and Jagdesh Sheth, the Charles H. Kellstadt professor of marketing at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University.
Both Mr. Dhingra and Mr. Vickery downplayed the perception of a rivalry between India and China.
“India does not get overshadowed by all the reporting in the U.S.-China relationship as the businesses are different and both the countries have different core competencies,” Mr. Dhingra said.
Mr. Vickery cited a healthy relationship between India and China. The East Asian nation surpassed the U.S. as India’s largest trading partner for the first time during the first quarter of this year.
Still, “India would like to have more coverage of its economic progress in comparison to China and sometimes is perplexed by a lack of coverage in the U.S. of progress in India, the world’s largest free-market economy,” he said.
India’s growing strengths are in information technology and related services as well as telecommunications, Mr. Vickery added.
He also cited agribusiness equipment related to the processing, storing and handling of agricultural items as providing opportunities for Georgia businesses.
In addition, he said India needs transportation and energy infrastructure and welcomes interest from companies in these sectors.
“India has a goal of investing a trillion dollars in infrastructure over the next five years,” he said.
The cost to attend a reception the evening of Monday, June 16, and the symposium of June 17 is $125 per person. To attend the symposium alone, the cost is $90 per person with a discount for students and academics at $60 per person. The cost for the reception alone is $50.