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Maryland Mission Inks $37M in Deals, Plans India Center

Governor of Maryland Martin O' Malley and the chief minister of Hyderabad, N. Kiran Kumar
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    Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s six-day trade mission to India last week produced at least $37 million in business deals, two educational partnerships and a planned new India center in the state. The visit included stops in Mumbai, Hyderabad and New Delhi.

    Addressing the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, O’Malley said he signed an agreement to create an India-Maryland center in Maryland that will be operated by FICCI.

    The Indian trade association will also organize a delegation to Maryland in April next year to help form partnerships in biotechnology, renewable energy and infrastructure.

    The Maryland-India hub will allow businesses from both sides to network on joint ventures, technology transfers and co-production across sectors, said FICCI secretary general Dr. Rajiv Kumar.

    More than a half-dozen business deals were signed on the trade mission, which included over 100 business executives, educators and elected officials, including Maryland Indian American state representatives Sam Arora, Kumar Barve and Aruna Miller.

    Arora, after returning to the U.S., in an e-mail to India-West pointed out that the mission helped Maryland companies “ink $37 million in deals that will benefit our state.” He said there were also two pacts signed in the educational sector.

    The University of Maryland at College Park signed an agreement with Delhi University to “create a framework for joint projects and an exchange program between their institutions.”

    Montgomery College, Arora said, “entered into a strategic partnership with Jindal Education Initiatives and (the) Wadhwani Foundation to create the Indian Vocational Faculty Development Center for Excellence, and train faculty.”

    O’Malley told reporters in India that Jasco Nutri Foods, an India-based organic foods manufacturer, plans to invest $10 million to open a 1,500-acre facility in Maryland. Plans will be finalized over the next two months and the project could generate up to 100 jobs.

    Baltimore’s CyberPoint International has signed a deal to develop new security solutions for mobile devices in partnership with Delhi’s Appin Security Group. The $10 million contract is expected to create new jobs in Baltimore and Delhi.

    Gaithersburg-based Electro-Media Design will partner with ITC Hotels to design the Indian company’s new and existing hotels.

    Greenbelt-based Angarai, a management-consulting firm, signed a deal with CI, a Chennai-based technology firm, to develop various projects, including CI possibly opening an office in Maryland, Angarai president and CEO Venkat Subramanian said Nov. 30.

    Premier Rides of Baltimore has also signed an agreement with Adlabs Entertainment of Mumbai to design and manufacture a custom theme park attraction, according to the governor’s office.

    Manish Kothari, president of Rockville-based Sheladia Associates, Inc., said he signed a $3.7 million deal to provide design and project management to upgrade the Panikoili-Rimouli section of India’s national Highway 215 in Orissa to a four-land roadway. “Gov. O’Malley’s presence has helped us a lot,” Kothari was quoted as saying in the Maryland Gazette.

    Maryland business and economic development secretary Christian Johansson and U.S. India Importers Council Chairman V. Rangaraj earlier in the trade mission signed an agreement to help companies create trading partnerships between Maryland and India.

    "Our mission to India has been a great success in terms of the new partnerships we've established, the new doors we've opened for job creation, trade and investment, and the many Maryland companies who have signed deals with our Indian partners," O'Malley said in a statement.

    India was the 12th largest market for Maryland exports in 2010, with $233 million in goods and services sold. It ranked 13th among countries from which Maryland imports goods and services, worth $192 million in the first nine months of this year.

    O'Malley predicted that India would rank among Maryland’s five largest trade partners within five years.

    The governor's trip has been criticized by some state residents for its cost, but O'Malley countered such missions are vital to competing in the modern world. He said that criticism of his foreign travel reflects a strain of “xenophobia” in U.S. politics. 

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