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Updated: September 21, 2011 11:34 IST

Sharma promises India’s return to “double digit growth”

Narayan Lakshman
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Anand Sharma
Anand Sharma

Addressing a 650-strong ballroom of dark-suited Indian-American business leader in the heart of the Deep South of the United States, India’s Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister, Anand Sharma, promised India’s return to “double digit growth” after the wobbles of the global economic downturn and the shaky ongoing recovery.

In his speech at the plush Westin Galleria hotel, during an annual gala of the Greater Dallas Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, the Minister however exhorted U.S. companies “to do more than they are doing,” to revitalise a bilateral trade relationship that was “well below potential.”

Further Mr. Sharma sought to allay concerns surrounding the controversy on outsourcing of U.S. jobs to India, arguing that for every job outsourced to India, two skilled and well-paid jobs were created on U.S. soil. In building this case he also made a plea to end a host of restrictive rules that made it difficult for Indian professionals in areas such as information technology to work in the U.S.

At the event Mr. Sharma was bestowed with the keys to Dallas city and also was felicitated by Ashok Mago, GDIACC founder and a prominent Dallas businessman who facilitated the movement of the India-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement bill through the U.S. Congress in 2008.

While Texas Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry could not attend the event owing to his campaign activities, his colleague read out a note on Mr. Perry’s behalf in which the Governor welcomed Mr. Sharma as an honoured guest to Texas.

Delivering a keynote address that touched upon wide-ranging issues from current counterterrorism concerns to shared values between India and the U.S. Mr. Sharma’s overall thrust was to pitch for deepening commercial ties between the two nations’ corporate sectors.

Following this and an earlier event in Chicago where the Minister met that city’s Mayor, Rahm Immanuel, Mr. Sharma will return to Washington where he will attend the India-U.S. CEO Forum on September 22, along with Indian Finance Minister Pranabh Mukherkjee and their U.S. counterparts.

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