On the Road with Ambassador Verma: Innovation and Engagement in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Apra, October 14-15, 2015

The United States Ambassador to India, Richard R. Verma, today wrapped up a productive two day visit to Chandigarh, Ludhiana, and Apra where he experienced first-hand the “full range of innovative U.S.-India partnerships and policy programs at work.”

Ambassador Verma started the trip by meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal, which focused on entrepreneurship and the recent agreement with United Technologies (UTC) to expand operations in Haryana. He also met with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the first day and had a constructive discussion on a range of political and economic issues, including the upcoming Progressive Punjab Investors Summit.

The theme of investment and innovation continued during the Ambassador’s conversation with the editors of The Tribune, which also addressed trade, the renewed U.S.-India defense partnership, and the U.S. visa process (full story here).

At the Indian School of Business in Mohali, the Ambassador discussed innovation with students, and was impressed by their dynamism, as well as by the school’s state-of-the-art campus.

The Ambassador also focused on the great potential of the US-India commercial relationship by meeting with a group of local business leaders in Ludhiana, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and toured the Hero Cycles factory for an on-the-ground look at a “great example of India manufacturing.”

The Ambassador had the opportunity to experience a different type of innovation at Nek Chand’s Rock Garden where industrial waste materials have been transformed into creative sculptures throughout the beautiful 40 acre garden.

In the area of health partnerships and innovation, the Ambassador visited the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, where he learned more about the important work of the Institute and its collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The Ambassador recognized the “great strides that the U.S.-India partnership has made in the areas of public health research and program development,” and lauded the “expansion of efforts into this area of the country.”

The Ambassador concluded his trip with a visit to Apra, the home of his father.  In reflecting on the visit Ambassador Verma noted: “It was an honor to visit my father’s home in the Punjabi village of Apra today. We were warmly welcomed by relatives, friends, and government officials who showed us such wonderful hospitality. We are so grateful to the people of Apra not only for their warmth and affection today, but for their strong and loyal support of my father, who spent his formative years there.‎ We are so proud of these roots and look forward to returning again to Punjab soon.”

Photos from the trip available here.