Gov. Jared Polis played up Colorado’s expertise in aerospace, biotech, renewable energy and agriculture during a business roundtable to discuss closer commercial ties with India, and in particular with the state of Karnataka.
“I am deeply committed to advocating for and growing the relationship between India and Colorado,” Polis told political and business leaders from both countries during a video call Wednesday morning.
Polis, on his first trade mission as governor last year, visited Mumbai and Bangalore, building on the ties forged by his predecessor John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper’s visit focused on technology, helping land an investment from Tata Consultancy Services, a global technology company, that now employs about 600 people in Colorado, primarily in metro Denver.
“We see a good potential as we go forward in our relationships,” said Surya Kant, chairman of Tata Consultancy Services in North America, during the call.
Polis, aware that many other states are playing the technology card, emphasized the potential for Colorado and Karnataka to cooperate more closely when it comes to aviation and aerospace.
“Colorado is a leader in aerospace. Colorado’s aerospace companies are at the forefront of space travel and innovation,” said Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s ambassador to the U.S.
Colorado universities and companies also have expertise in renewable energy, water management and agriculture, which could be helpful in the densely populated and water-constrained state of 65 million people.
India’s burdensome regulatory system and insular economy have kept U.S. companies from making inroads in the country. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed through reforms to make it easier for outside capital and expertise to prosper in the country of 1.35 billion people. Reforms include changes that will make it easier for foreign universities to establish a presence in the country.
“India is one of the most important countries for higher education,” said Mark Kennedy, president of the University of Colorado System.
Polis has worked on forging closer ties with specific states in other countries as a way to boost Colorado’s exports and economy. Last month, he hosted a call with the governor of the Mexican state of Jalisco.
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