USINPAC: Steps necessary to increase trade, tourism and image
May 12, 2014, Washington, DC. As the two month long elections in India draws to a close with results due to be announced later this week, leaders of the Indian American community held a discussion on some steps that the new Indian government could take to improve its image with the diaspora and relations with the United States.
A key concern that was voiced by Dr. Sumit Ganguly, professor at Indiana University and leading expert on U.S.-India relations, related to the difficulties faced in obtaining a visa for travel to India. Stating that the Ministry of Overseas India Affairs can work with the Ministry of External Affairs to address this long-standing issue which neither helps Indias image, nor the cause of India, Dr. Ganguly said, The process to obtain a visa to India is highly uneven, problematic, and causes much heartburn. One solution is to increase the consular staff, otherwise India is losing goodwill every day not only among the Indian American community but also among other Americans applying for a visa.
At the occasion, Mr. Sanjay Puri, the chairman of US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) said, the new Government might be advised to take the budget of the Incredible India Campaign and use it to hire more staff at the consular offices to increase trade, cultural tourism and its image amongst the diaspora and potential investors, he also repeated USINPACs call for a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister of India during the UN General Assembly at New York in September. Responding to the urgings of USINPAC, Dr. Ganguly said, It is entirely desirable that if Mr. Modi becomes the Prime Minister he must attend the UN meetings, and the Ministry of External Affairs of India must reach out to the US administration and find a way to arrange a bilateral meeting between the two leaders.
According to USINPAC while it expects that the new government in India shall take necessary steps to restore investor confidence, but if Mr. Modi becomes the PM, the symbolism of an Obama-Modi meeting will go a long way in assuring India that the relationship is back on track.