St. Paul, Minn. (April 26, 2010) – The Minnesota Trade Office announced Monday that it has agreed to host the Honorable Meera Shankar, Ambassador of the Republic of India to the United States, for her first official visit to the state, May 17-19.
The ambassador will promote and strengthen commercial, cultural, educational and humanitarian ties between Minnesota and India.
“Ambassador Shankar’s visit will strengthen the relationship between Minnesota and India,” said Dan McElroy, commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Ambassador Shankar will meet with companies doing business with India and highlight significant Indian investments in Minnesota, including Essar Steel Minnesota in Nashwauk and Suzlon Rotor Corporation in Pipestone.
Ambassador Shankar will speak on U.S.-Indian relations and on opportunities for commercial and knowledge partnerships between the two countries in several public appearances, including addresses at the University of Minnesota and the Economic Club of Minnesota.
India is ranked 20th among export markets for Minnesota-manufactured goods, up from 31st in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“India is one of Minnesota’s fastest growing export markets,” said Ed Dieter, acting director, MTO. “Minnesota manufactured exports to India have increased from less than $28 million in 2000 to nearly $146 million in 2009- growing 430 percent during this period.”
In October 2007, Governor Pawlenty led a delegation of more than 70 business and government leaders to India.
The MTO, an office of DEED, is focused on increasing state export sales in foreign markets. The MTO promotes international trade by providing export information, export education and training, and one-on-one counseling to Minnesota companies that wish to sell manufactured goods and services in the international marketplace.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and services, visit www.positivelyminnesota.com.
Shankar presented her credentials as Indian Ambassador to the United States to President Barack Obama after arriving in Washington on April 26, 2009. Her last assignment was as Ambassador of India to Germany from 2005 to 2009.
Now married and with a daughter, Shankar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973, and has held several assignments including as Director in the Prime Minister’s Office from 1985 to 1991. She was posted to Washington D.C. and served as Minister of Commerce from 1991 to 1995.
Shankar also headed the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in New Delhi overseeing India’s cultural diplomacy, before heading the divisions of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation, and relations with Nepal and Bhutan for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
After a promotion to the rank of Additional Secretary in 2002, Shankar held the responsibility for the United Nations and International Security.
For more information on the Indian community and its role in hosting the visit, contact Indian Association of Minnesota President PG Narayanan at [email protected] or visit online for updates at www.iamn.org.