US can't ignore Uttar Pradesh if it wants better ties with India, says minister
If the United States wants to improve its ties with India, it can no longer ignore or sideline Uttar Pradesh, a visiting delegation from the most populous Indian state has said.
Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Sidhartha Nath Singh is leading the high-powered delegation of top state officials to the US.
"It is important for the Government of the United states to understand that for any relationship with India to go up, obviously other states are important, but Uttar Pradesh remains the most important," Singh said.
"Even if you want to improve the health index of India, for example, India can come up only if UP scores well in this area," Singh said.
Having concluded their trip to the Silicon Valley in California, the delegation was in Washington DC on Thursday, holding meetings with US government officials.
They met with officials from the State Department, the Department of Commerce and USAID and had round tables with the industry representatives, sending them the common message that they can "no longer" afford to ignore or skip Uttar Pradesh if they want to invest in or improve ties with India.
Singh said the BJP government had initiated a series of administrative reforms in sectors like health, agriculture, industry and education so as to make Uttar Pradesh a business-friendly destination.
"In addition, UP offers a huge market for companies," Singh and his delegation said during their powerpoint presentation before representatives of US companies.
He said the American corporate sector had shown interest to invest in defence manufacturing, IT and health sectors in Uttar Pradesh, while some of the top educational institutions wanted collaborative research and problem-solving projects.
During the Investors Summit-2018 in February in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a defence industrial corridor in the Bundelkhand region, saying it would bring an investment of Rs 20,000 crore and generate employment avenues for 2.5 lakh people.
"After recent announcement of defence corridor, a number of US defence companies have shown serious interest in investing in this sector in the state," said Singh.
He held meetings with representatives of the Lockheed Martin here while a meeting with Boeing is also on the cards.
"US companies have shown big interest in UP's health sector, for which the BJP government has announced ambitious expansion plans, and the fast-developing IT sector in Noida, adjoining the national capital," said Singh.
He also suggested that the state could collaborate with some American universities for fellowship programmes, exchange programmes or research programmes.
"That could be a big, big takeaway for us," Singh said, as he referred to a meeting that the delegation has had with the Stanford University in Silicon Valley this week.
Companies like Pepsico and Cargill have shown interest in investing in the state's agriculture sector. Both the companies have signed memorandums of understanding with UP.
Singh said his delegation has received an invitation from the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to visit the United States later this summer.
"We hope the chief minister visits the US soon," Singh said.
"The US trip is basically to get UP to be known in a new way and also to get investment from US into Uttar Pradesh," Singh said.
The delegation would next travel to New York before leaving for India.