By Reema Lokesh on February 12, 2015
Thomas L Vajda
The Modi Obama euphoria has got the world talking. From a rather awkward past especially with India’s present PM, followed by the Khobragade issue to the recent buoyancy in relationship and business, courtesy the Vibrant Gujarat Summit and the visit of Obama at the Republic Day celebrations in India, the attitude at the top level has been very clear – let the past be left behind and let’s march into the future on a progressive note. This attitude was clearly expressed by Thomas L Vajda, consulate general of the USA in Mumbai, wherein he stated, “We are hear to look into the future as strong partners. I would like to say that I have come in at the right time as there is a lot of positive energy and good work being done at both ends.” The path ahead is predicted to increase trade relations from US$100 billion to US$ 500 billion in the coming three-four years. Manoj Gursahani, president, Visit USA Committee and vice-chairman, US India Investors Forum, who was part of the USA pavilion at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit and the US India Business Summit has been witnessing the action rather closely. “The future is full of positive action and our real work starts now. After the top level engagements there is a lot of work happening on the ground level. I have witnessed the action rather closely, there is a lot of joint opportunities taking place on the sidelines,” stated Gursahani adding, “There has been a visible focus on the SME segment. There is vibrant business taking place in the pharma, IT, auto ancillary sectors and especially in the renewable energy space primarily in solar energy.”
On the tourism front, there is a lot of growth that is taking place. Gursahani opined, “We have seen the numbers growing in tourism to a tune of about 20 per cent. Along with tourism, we also predict positive growth in the education of tourism space. From post graduation to under graduation, campus visits, NASA experience, we are witnessing all this and more. The MICE space is also getting very prominent. US is promoting itself as a MICE destination with its advantage of being reasonable in terms of a destination, benefits given in terms of group visas and the visa on arrival news is a further encouragement. The team at the consulate office in Mumbai lead by Vajda has been extremely forthcoming and is effectively working as a catalyst to strengthen the MICE space,” he concluded.