Video: Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok on India-US Relations & Business Opportunities in India

What is behind the symbolism of India-US relationship? President Obama became the first American President to visit India twice. What are the business opportunities for American business in India beyond IT and technology? What are the business opportunities for California and the states on the west coast?

We sat down to speak with Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, Consul General of India in San Francisco to talk about these topics. Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg? Whom would Ambassador Ashok like to meet since we live in the hub of innovation and technology and the Ambassador is an engineer-turned-diplomat. Tune in to find out what he has to say.

India is an emerging economy and there are opportunities to do business in infrastructure, energy, pharmaceuticals and agriculture Ambassador Ashok points out in the interview.

India plans to spend $1 trillion in improving its infrastructure.  “American companies have lot of opportunities in the infrastructure development,” points out Ambassador Ashok. California has a a special role to play in renewable energy and solar energy in particular he says. India has 4 times the population of US and uses 1/20th of energy when compared to the US the Ambassador shared.

There are business opportunities for California, especially in agriculture. California almonds rank 5th in the list of American exports to India.

And what about Bollywood? We had to ask that question given how Bollywood has become such a strong cultural glue for the Indian-American community in the US, especially in California.

This interview aired on TV in the San Francisco bay area.


President Obama’s Visit To India

President Barrack Obama became the first American President to visit India twice, and the first to attend India’s Republic Day parade. He spent 3 days in New Delhi meeting with politicians, entrepreneurs and other policy makers.

There was lot of talk about the “bromance” between Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. It is the “Bromance of the year.” writes Bloomberg. Then there was that famous tea or “chai” break where Obama and Modi sat down to sip a cup of tea and talk. After the bromance and the chai-break on the first day, the second day was time for saw President Obama and Michelle Obama attending India’s  Republic Day Parade.

Was President Obama’s visit to India a success? It depends on how you look at it and which media coverage you read. The expectations were not too high from this visit points out The Economist.

What about the breakthrough in the nuclear deal between US and India? Was there a breakthrough or was this a hastily clobbered deal. Again, it depends what you read. “The announcement contained few specific details, and some are skeptical,” writes The Washington Post about a breakthrough in the nuclear deal.

Did President Obama’s presence at India’s Republic Day Parade send a signal to China asks The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Was that a signal that the Asian pivot towards India could happen asks WSJ.

And on the final day of his visit President Obama made his parting shot about religious freedom in India points out Reuters. That message on religious freedom is a politically sensitive message points out The Indian Express.

Anti-Americanism is Dead writes Dhruva Jaishankar, who steps back and provides a comprehensive picture of the visit  from three different lens – symbolic, political and practical. He makes a persuasive argument when he writes “(this visit is the) closest thing to a strategic partnership that is possible in an increasingly tactical world.”

And if you need a backgrounder on why President Obama went to India then Tanvi Madan of Brookings Institute has you covered in this article.

If you want to look at visuals from President Obama’s visit check out The White House Blog and Politico.