India today stepped up efforts to deepen its economic ties with the American state of South Carolina during a key meeting between India's Ambassador here Nirupama Rao and Governor Nikki Haley, the first woman of Indian orgin to hold the top gubernatorial post.
Rao who concluded her three-day visit to the state held a series of meetings with Haley and other top officials on enhancing the partnership between India and South Carolina.
The partnership aimed to seek ways and means of Indian companies investing in South Carolina and how South Carolina companies can help India in certain fields like infrastructure.
"South Carolina provides a very conducive environment for foreign investment and which is what Indian companies would look to " Rao the former Indian Foreign Secretary told reporters in response to a question.
The Indian Ambassador to the US praised Haley for epitomising the achievements of Indian Americans in the US. "She (Nikki Haley) is a star back home.
"We love her for her achievements. In many ways she epitomises the achievements of the Indian American community in this country; all that they have done to make America proud and to make India proud," Rao said at a joint media availability with Haley.
Born of migrants from Punjab, Haley is the first Indian American woman governor of a US state and after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, she is only the second Indian American Governor here. Both are from the Republican Party.
Haley underlined that India and its growth provides an opportunity to the people of South Carolina. "It's an opportunity to partner with a country which continues to be strong when it comes to developing new things in IT, in innovation, in medicine, in all of these things and how do we get Indian companies to get to do business in south Carolina? How do we partner so we benefit?" Haley said.
Rao, who travelled to Charleston and Columbia during her trip, said in her discussions with Haley and her team that she looked at the ways to cement better relations between India and South Carolina.
She said there are immense possibilities because this is really in many senses a time of awakening when it comes to India US relationship.
"We have strategic partnership that has many many pillars to it that in fact encompasses almost every field of human endeavour, making a difference to the lives of people in your country and my country. We have a number of Indian companies that have invested here and are doing business," she said.
She said her efforts was aimed at bringing Indian companies to South Carolina and synergise the respective capabilities and strength. She said the infrastructure development was "a key priority" as India is looking at inclusive development amid accelerating growth in India.