Ambassador Stephens Says Time is Ripe for Growing Economic Ties with India

To help Bay Area Council members and regional business leaders gain first-hand insight into India, the Bay Area Council on Sept. 19, 2014 convened a high-level briefing with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, U.S. Charge d’Affaire to India. Gathered over lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto, top executives heard from Stephens about India’s changing dynamics, its ties to the Bay Area and new India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus on attracting foreign investment, among other topics.

Changes in India have captured the world’s attention, both as a market and a place to invest. This process of transformation has been complex, with sometimes uneven results, but India is clearly poised to play a growing role on the global stage. Modi’s election has raised new interest in India’s future course, with high expectations for renewed growth and accelerating reform. The Bay Area is uniquely connected with India. Nearly 215,000 immigrants from India live in the region, comprising the second largest Indian-American community in the U.S. Nearly one-fourth of Silicon Valley engineers are Indian, and 15 percent of Silicon Valley startups have been founded by Indian immigrants – more than any other nationality.

Council CEO Jim Wunderman in closing remarks said the Bay Area Council stands ready to leverage its strong relationships in India to assist companies looking for trade and investment opportunities.

Ambassador Stevens was then traveling to San Francisco for a dinner meeting the Council convened with top women business leaders to discuss gender equity issues and growing attention in India on women’s empowerment. The Council earlier this year partnered with the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women on two conferences focused on improving gender equity.

The Bay Area Council extends its gratitude to Nandini Tandon and Priya Tandon for helping arrange the meetings with Ambassador Stevens. Nandini Tandon serves on the Board of Trustees of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and Priya Tandon is a special advisor to the institute. To engage in the Council’s global initiatives work, contact Global Initiatives Chief Del Christensen.

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