Prime Minister Modi signs the visitors’ book at the White House last year. Source: US Embassy New Delhi

Bipartisan US Congressional Delegation Visits India, Meets PM Modi

A bipartisan US congressional delegation called on Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Tuesday. The 26 congressional members were welcomed by the Prime Minister who lauded the visit as a good sign for the continued growth of bilateral ties between the two countries under the new US administration. He reflected positively on his phone conversation with US President Donald Trump early this month in which the two leaders emphasized their shared commitment to further strengthen defense and economic ties.

During the meeting with the US congressional delegation, Prime Minister Modi shared his hope to further strengthen cultural and people-to-people ties between India and the US. He highlighted the benefits that Indian talent brings to the US economy and culture, and encouraged the facilitation of the movement of skilled workers.

In 2015, US imports from India totaled $45 billion while exports to India totaled $21 billion. California’s exports alone totaled $4.6 billion making it the top state exporter to India. Major exports to India include precious stones, machinery, aircraft, and optic and medical equipment. The main imports from India include diamonds, textiles, oil, organic chemicals, agricultural products, and textiles.

As of 2015 there were 3.6 million Indian-Americans in the US. California, New York, New Jersey, and Texas accommodate the highest number of Indian-Americans. Concentrated areas of Indian Americans exist within these states. Indian-Americans in Edison, N.J., for example, made up 28% of the population in 2010. Indians in the West Santa Clara Census County Division in California made up 11% of the population.

Indian students studying in the US contributed $5.22 billion to the US economy over a 5 year period. India was the second highest country of origin of international students in the US following China with 100,270 students enrolled. Texas has the highest number of Indian students with approximately 10,000 enrolling in Texan universities per year. Of the Indian students in the US, 66% of Indian students study STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) fields.

Tara Duane is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at the University of Western Australia.

This article was originally published on February 24, 2017 on AsiaMattersforAmerica.org