India is America's "greatest" strategic partner which has been "instrumental" in helping the US build technology and medical professions, a top US Governor has said.
"We clearly understand the strategic importance of India, of India-US relations. As we grow our 21st century economy, India has been so instrumental in helping us build our technology, medical professions," Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is also the chair of the powerful National Governors Association, told PTI.
"We recognise a country that has been such a close strategic ally of the US. That's why we the Governors are here tonight," McAuliffe said at a reception hosted by Navtej Sarna, the Indian Ambassador to the US, at his residence in honour of members of the National Governors Association (NGA).
Governors along with their spouses from a record number of 25 states attended the reception, which is one of the largest such gatherings at the Ambassador's residence in recent years and reflective of the strong partnership that India over the years has been able to build with each of these states.
The event, the first-of-its-nature held in recent years, among others was attended by Governors of Virginia, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virgin Islands, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Senior representatives of Governors of California, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania were also in the audience.
"India is America's greatest strategic partner," McAuliffe said, explaining the reasons for the NGA agreeing to have this reception at the residence of Indian Ambassador despite a tough competition from other countries.
The reception coincided with the Winter Meeting of the NGA which is currently underway in Washington.
"This is a great opportunity for Governors. India is so large, with so many people and so many opportunities. But you cannot build relationship with India unless you visit the country," said McAuliffe, as he urged other Governors to visit India and take trade delegations there.
He himself has been to India as many as 15 times, the last time he took a trade delegation to India.
Addressing the largest-ever crowd of US Governors at his residence, Sarna said India-US relationship today is a "very major" global strategic partnership.
Urging the Governors to increase their interaction with
Indian states, Sarna said India today is at the edge of another set of economic reforms.
"There are major plans for the development of our infrastructure, we have major plans on innovation front, for startups, for skilling people. So there are huge opportunities," Sarna said.
Asking US companies to be part of the Indian success story, Sarna said that India's booming economy creates strong demand for US goods, helping to create jobs and prosperity.
Indian companies operate in most US states and are present in diverse sectors like IT and telecommunications, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, education, financial service and manufacturing.
The relationship, he said, enjoys a bipartisan support.
Sarna said that US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have had very warm and constructive conversations.
"Prime Minister, who has himself been the Chief Minister of a State for more than a decade, is a strong believer in 'cooperative federalism'. This platform of cooperation between the Indian Embassy and NGA thus provides us with fertile ground for fruitful and active cooperation between State level authorities of our two countries," he said.
(With PTI inputs)