Over 70 members of Atlanta’s international business community attended the GIACC’s VIP Reception hosted by Manuel Deisen, General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Atlanta. The reception featured the culinary treats of Executive Chef Ramesh Kaduru, one of only two chefs of India origin in the over 150 hotels in the Ritz-Carlton group of hotels. Representatives of the Consular Corps, TIE, the Atlanta CEO Council, the Technology Association of Georgia, binational chambers, USPACC, the Minority Supplier Development Council and many others attended the reception.

GIACC President Mark Piersonwelcomed the attendees and noted that the GIACC had been formed in the year 2000 and as with many binational chamber was going through a transformation in the current age of connectedness through social media and the internet. He emphasized the role of the chamber in connecting Georgia and India and said that the GIACC would be undertaking initiatives to help create more business opportunities. The GIACC will also work to create partnerships with other organizations to help achieve this objective.

He then introduced the Consul General of India, Nagesh Singh, and emphasized the importance of working together with the Indian consulate to promote business relations between India and Georgia. Consul General Singh thanked GIACC President Mark Pierson for organizing the event and said that there’s a great future for the partnership between the GIACC and the Indian Consulate. He said that in the Southeastern U.S. there is a lack of awareness about India and that he hoped together the Consulate and the GIACC can help improve this.

Mr. Singh pointed out that relations between India and the U.S. have been transformed over the past two decades and this has been based on our shared values of democracy, pluralism, multiculturalism and common geopolitical interests, especially in the Asia-Pacific Region.

U.S.-India bilateral trade has increased over the last decade to almost 120 billion dollars a year and in the next decade it will increase to 500 billion a year. The U.S. is among the top ten investors in India and India has become the fourth-largest foreign investor in the United States, and India has become the fastest growing economy in the world at 7.6 growth in 2015.
He noted that industries in Georgia such as automotive and aviation need to focus on India as it will be the world’s 2nd or 3rd largest market by 2020. And India is the world’s last megamarket, with a middle class of 300 million with large unmet needs that can be fulfilled by American companies.

The Indian Consulate in Atlanta has now been here for almost five years, and Atlanta won out over Seattle and Chicago because “this region is one of the fastest growing and business friendly regions and particularly in the area of manufacturing which is of great interest to India”. Another factor was that there are over 125,000 persons of Indian origin in Georgia, most of them in the Atlanta area.

Mark Pierson thanked Consul-General Singh for giving his remarks and for his support of the GIACC. He then asked Gordon O’Neill, President of O’Neill Communications, and Devika Rao, GIACC Communications Director and Vice President, Account Services for O’Neill Communications, to come forward. He then thanked Gordon O’Neill for allowing Devika and his team to create GIACC’s new website and the presented him a Florida Gator shirt he had obtained at the recent Florida-Kentucky basketball game (he noted Kentucky won), accompanied by applause and amusement from the reception attendees.

He then asked Consul General Singh to join him in proposing a toast to Narsi Narasimhan, a former President of the GIACC and a beloved leader of Georgia’s Indian business community. Dr. Narasimhan had suddenly passed away several weeks earlier and had been a great supporter of the GIACC. The formal part of the reception concluded with announcements of upcoming events and thanks to the attendees for coming. It was a huge success and all who attended said they enjoyed the evening.