The 18th annual Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) was held here to celebrate its accomplishments for being a vital international link for entrepreneurs and to honour outstanding members of the Indian-American community. The event was attended by many including, Houston’s business elites, elected officials, Consul General of India Anupam Ray, Harris County judge Ed Emmett, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Jay Guerrero, Regional Director for US Senator John Cornyn, UH President and Chancellor Renu Khator.
Addressing the event, Consul General Anupam Ray appreciated Indian-American community for opening their homes and wallets in rebuilding the city after Hurricane Harvey. “Your generosity makes India proud and a community is great if it rises above its suffering. Through your contributions toward Hurricane Harvey relief, you’ve demonstrated that as a community, you’ve risen above your sufferings,” he said.
Ray said that India-US relations remain on a very high trajectory. “There is a lot of high-level traffic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been to the US four times in the last three years, US defense secretary James Mattis seek to take the India-US defense ties to the next level during his recent visit. This is indicative of a robust relationship that remains on track to be the defining relationship of the 21st century. Houston is coming into its own as a major centre of India-US relations,” Ray said.
“India is likely to buy 800 commercial aircrafts in next decade, we have just bought billion dollar worth of Apache Helicopters and our military needs to procure 400 helicopters. India is focused on updating its infrastructure as well,” he said. “It will soon have a bullet train and about 500 billion dollars will be invested on roads, railways, ports and airports. India is making huge investments in toilets and is committed to bring about a sanitation revolution in India,” he added.
Executive Director of IACCGH Jagdip Ahluwalia said, “We would like to remind you that the chamber recognised the US- India partnership in 1999, when we founded it, that time India was not yet the flavor of the future”. “India is staged to be one of our best trading partners and Texas will be doing a lot more business in coming months. Within one month of PM Modi’s meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington, India purchased over USD 2 Billion of US crude and IACCGH was present at the loading of the crude oil on the first ship that sailed out of Texas in August. The purchase of Apache helicopters is another strategic deal between US andIndia originating from state of Texas,” Jagdip said.
Lauding IACCGH’s role in driving Houston’s economic growth, Harris County judge Ed Emmett and Mayor Sylvester Turner strongly endorsed the diversity that the Indo-American presence in Houston provided while describing the chamber as “dynamic, an engine of opportunity and diversity personified.
Both appreciated the Indian-Americans for their generosity and voluntary aid toward Hurricane Harvey relief. IACCGH also recognised the outstanding professional and public service achievements of community members.
IACCGH President Allen Richards said the three Indian- Americans were selected for their diverse and exceptional achievements in entrepreneurship, impact in economic growth in Houston and humanitarian Service. Indian-American Marie Goradia was honored with the “Impact on Humanity Award” for her forceful advocacy for the cause of education of underprivileged children in India via Pratham USA and her support of many deserving causes in healthcare.
Bal Sareen, CEO, BraskInc was honoured for his entrepreneurial success as a leading manufacturer of shell and heat exchangers in Texas. Swapnil Agarwal, for ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’, as Founder and Managing Principal of Nitya Capital and Karya Property Management, companies that buy and manage properties. During Harvey devastation, Agarwal opened his facilities for the people needing shelter.