A Weekend of US-India Exchanges in New York

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by Youngjin Kim
The United States and India have become close partners in various sectors. [Image: Asia Matters for America]

As part of the18th edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and IIFA hosted the FICCI–IIFA Global Business Forum in July in New York. The FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum—an annual event held since 2005—facilitates dialogue on prospective business ties between India and its commercial partners. This year, the day-long forum focused on the theme “India and United States: Partners in Progress” and discussed U.S.-India relations in the featured panel session: the Future of India-US Economic Partnership, Defense and Security, Manufacturing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Media & Entertainment. Among notable U.S.-India relations advocates in attendance were Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Indian Ambassador to the United States Navtej Sarna. Other IIFA Weekend and Awards festivities in celebration of Indian Cinema were the IIFA Stomp at the Time Square and Shuruaat Gala Dinner at the Pierre Hotel.

One of the highlights from this year’s Forum was Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s mention of the upcoming state partnership between Hawaii and Goa, a state in western India. Mostly renowned as a top tourist destination with beautiful beaches and cultural diversity, Goa is also one of the fastest growing Indian states with strong mining and pharmaceuticals sectors. Since Gabbard’s India visit in 2014, establishing a Hawaii-Goa sister state relationship has been a bilateral project between the two state governments with aims to increase economic and cultural exchanges and promote tourism.

India and the United States have a deep bilateral relationship. On the economic front, India is the 9th largest goods trading partner of the United States in 2016. On the demographic front, Indian-Americans are one of the fastest growing and the second largest Asian subgroup in the United States. Currently, India and the United States share 23 sister city and country relationships and two sister state relationships that promote economic, cultural and educational exchanges. Frequent cultural and economic collaboration efforts exemplified by the IIFA Weekends and Awards coupled with Prime Minister Modi’s D.C. visit in June are indicative of the rapidly growing US-India bilateral relationship.

In partnership with FICCI, the East-West Center in Washington recently launched its India Matters for America / American Matters for India publication with all of the most up-to-date data on every category of US-India relations.

Youngjin Kim is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at the George Washington University.