Saying that India had just “scratched the surface” in developing relations with Georgia, Ronen Sen, India’s ambassador to the United States, called for more mutual investment and trade while visiting Atlanta Oct. 9.
“We have just scratched the surface in what can be done,” he said during a press conference at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta downtown. Mr. Sen was in Atlanta for the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual banquet and to attend celebrations for the 135th birth anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi held at Ebenezer Baptist Church and at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
Mr. Sen said that he did not think that India would open a consulate in Atlanta in the near future, but praised the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce as an organization that can promote closer business and cultural ties between the state and India.
When asked about the threat of job losses caused by the outsourcing of services from Georgia to India, he replied that the process was a “natural phenomenon” because companies had to be responsible to their shareholders and customers.
“You have to provide value for money,” he said. “These companies not only have to remain competitive but they have to remain afloat.”
He also said he was aware through his diplomatic experience in the United Kingdom and Germany of the widespread fear concerning job losses to India and elsewhere in the world similar to those felt by workers in the U.S.
Yet such changes were inevitable given the global economy, he added. He also said that India invested in other countries, either preserving or creating new jobs. “We would like to see more Indian investment (in Georgia and the Southeast). Indian investment in Britain is slightly larger than British investment in India,” he added.
“In the next 20 to 40 years, India will be the third largest economy in the world,” he said. “What we are saying is that we no longer have the world as it was at the end of World War II.”
He added that India and the U.S. have common attributes suited to the post cold war situation including democratic governments and linguistic and religious diversity.
Indian residents of the U.S. should not have “divided loyalties,” but should be active in their local communities without giving up their cultural heritage, he said.
At an evening reception in honor of the ambassador, the chamber gave the following awards:
Linda Dubler, curator of Media Arts for the High Museum of Art received the Friend of India Award for organizing the Film Festival of India at the museum annually since 2002.
Receiving the Friend of Chamber Award was Prashant Shah, editor and publisher of the India Tribune, which is published out of Chicago with editions in Atlanta and New York.
Accepting the corporate Friend of the Year Award for Delta Air Lines Inc. was Jacqueline Evans, manager of diversity and community relations.
For more information, contact Kirtan Patel, the chamber’s president, at (678) 443-2228 or by email at email@example.com.