By Len Lazarick, Len@MarylandReporter.com
(November 15, 2011) -- Gov. Martin O’Malley and wife, Judge Katie O’Malley, will be heading to India right after Thanksgiving, leading the state’s largest ever overseas economic development trip and the first visit of a sitting Maryland governor to the world’s largest Democracy.
The six-day trip will include visits to Hyderabad in central India, a biomedical hub; Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on the west coast, the financial center; New Delhi, the national capital; and Agra, the site of the Taj Mahal.
More than 100 people are part of the official delegation, though most are paying their own way, including the three members of the House of Delegates of Indian ancestry: House Majority Leader Kumar Barve and freshman Dels. Sam Arora and Aruna Miller.
UPDATE: According to Robert Walker, assistant secretary of
business and economic development, Maryland’s Indian community has been
pressuring O’Malley and the department for some time for an economic development
trip. There are now 3,070 businesses owned by Indian-Americans in Maryland with
26,000 employees, the 7th highest in the nation.
India is now Maryland’s 11th largest export market, and trade was up 18% in just
2010. India’s economy has been growing at 7% rate over the past decade, and will
soon be the world’s 3rd largest economy.
Maryland has had “a long established trade and development relationship” with
China, with a business office in Shanghai for 15 years,” Walker said. “We’re
sort of opening the door to India,” where 70% of the people have a positive view
of the United States, according to a recent survey.
Forty-three companies from Maryland will be represented on the trip, which will
include the signing of two sister-state agreements. O’Malley will meet briefly
with the chief minister (governor) of the state of Andhra Pradesh, a state of
about 84 million people where the capital of Hyderabad has a million more people
(6.8 million) than the whole state of Maryland.
O’Malley will also sign a sister-state agreement with the state of Maharashtra,
(population 112 million) whose capital is Mumbai (12 million people.)
“Having these high level meetings is going to be very helpful” to the business
people on the trip, said Pradeep Ganguly, senior vice president of the Prince
George’s County Economic Development Corp. County Executive Rushern Baker will
be traveling with the 14 local businesses on the trip.
“The climate for doing business in India is better than ever,” Ganguly said. He
also noted that a representative of the U.S. Department of Commerce will be
traveling with the group, and the department is providing its Gold Key services
to the group.
In addition to individual business-to-business meetings for members of the
delegation, O’Malley is scheduled to address a luncheon meeting of the
Confederation of Indian Industries in Hyderabad, with a dinner reception there
hosted by the minister of information technology.
O’Malley will also speak to a breakfast meeting of the Indus Entrepreneurs and
the All India Biotech Association.
The GMR Group, a large infrastructure enterprise, will also host a luncheon for
the delegation. Walker said that it is estimated that India will spend $1.7
trillion on roads, ports, airports and the power grid in the next five years.
ARINC of Anne Arundel, which already works with two Indian airports, will have
three representatives on the trip.
O’Malley will attend a major pharmaceutical convention in Mumbai, and help
launch an India chapter of the Maryland-founded Women in Bio organization. The
Braj Binani Group will host a dinner there.
Walker said that many of the events are being paid for by Indian hosts. He could
not estimate the cost of the trip to the state.
The cost for the bulk of the delegation paying their own way ranges from $5,000
to $7,000 depending on international airfare, according to two firms making
arrangements for the trip.
Eight representatives of the University of Maryland College Park are going on
the trip, including President Wallace Loh.
The university will sign three memos of understanding with Indian universities,
according to Jonathan Wilkenfeld, associate provost for international affairs.
One will focus on agricultural exports and inspections, a field in which UMCP
About 1,900 Indian students a year study in Maryland universities, with an
estimated economic impact of $55 million.
Here is the complete press release from the governor’s office, including
links to full schedules for O’Malley and his wife, more details on the trip, and
a list of the members of the delegation.