Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley feels that the India-US relations would be a defining relationship of "our times" and that the future of the two countries is tied together.
On a six-day visit to India to boost trade and investment, the governor told IANS that it would be a great competitive advantage for the US to strengthen the relations with the largest English-speaking democracy in the world.
"Given India's strength as the largest English-speaking democracy in the world it would be economically irresponsible not to strengthen relationships with India. Our future is tied together," he said.
"Our challenge really is to seize that opportunity and to become more engaged with India rather than less engaged," said O'Malley, the first sitting governor of Maryland to visit India.
"I believe with President (Barack) Obama the relationship between the US and the people of India will be a defining relationship of our times not only in terms of our geopolitical security but also in terms of larger challenges we face and the innovations that we require in terms of how we feed, fuel and heal this growing population on our small planet."
The governor, who is leading 100-member delegation including businessmen, educationists and elected officials, is trying to do some hot selling.
"I feel we are at right time in India. There is no better time than the present and under that standard we are at right time. Our whole world is becoming much more inter connected. The national economies that succeed will be those that expand their connections around the world."
During his two-day visit to Hyderabad, he met industrialists and investors inviting them to explore the tremendous opportunities Maryland offers, especially in the new economy areas of life sciences, biotechnology, information technology and cyber security and help create new jobs.
Maryland also signed sister state agreement with Andhra Pradesh, its first such pact with any Indian state. In his presence, three business deals were signed between Maryland-based and Indian companies while one business announcement was made.
While in Mumbai, O'Malley will sign sister state agreement with Maharashtra.
"There are our first two sister state relationships in India. We are looking forward for benefits that could be economical, cultural and educational," he said.
The officials accompanying the governor told IANS that they chose Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for sister state agreements as they were strong in areas which offer huge opportunities in Maryland.
"The sister state agreements are also about cultural ties, the relationships between people of the two states and the large number of Indian Americans in Maryland," an official said.
The governor termed as "unique" Maryland's partnership with India. There are 3,000 companies in Maryland owned by Indian Americans, providing 27,000 to 28,000 jobs to people in that state and generating revenues of $1.2 billion.
In 2010, India was Maryland's 12th largest export market with $223 million in goods and services, and was the state's 13th largest import market, with more than $465 million.
The governor said nations can compete in the global economy and can be among the winners
"The fear of this new global economy is a sort of xenophobia, simply reflection of lack of understanding the fact that trade is in fact a two-way street. Two companies coming together can create greater opportunities by working together. This is not have to be a one-way street," he said when asked about the apprehensions in a section of people in the US.
"Too often I think Americans look global trade as jobs leaving the US without realizing that these agreements can be source of new jobs and new economic activity in the US."
"We governors have to do a better job of emphasizing the FDI into US. Media without any prompting and without any help will always highlight dollars that are leaving the US and jobs leaving the US. We have to tell better stories of jobs that are coming to the US because of these new opportunities," he added.