Indiana Signs Sister State Agreement with Karnataka, India

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by Savannah Shih
Indiana Governor Holcomb meets with Karnataka Minister Kharge to sign a new sister state agreement. [Photo: Economic Development Corporation, Indiana]

Ties between Indiana and India have grown this year, culminating in Governor Eric Holcomb’s delegation to India in October, the first such trip by an Indiana governor. The main focus of Holcomb’s trip was to sign a sister state agreement with the Indian state of Karnataka to promote friendship and economic cooperation. While in Karnataka, Holcomb met with Priyank Kharge, Karnataka Minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology and Tourism, as well as the state’s governor Vajubhai Vala, to discuss future cooperation. The agreement commits the states to collaborate on a wide range of issues, including economic development and investment; workforce development; academic cooperation; information and communications technologies; advanced manufacturing and materials; life sciences; agriculture and agriculture technology; automotive and aerospace; and aviation.

The agreement coincides with growing economic cooperation between the two states. Karnataka’s capital, Bangalore, is home to Infosys and Appirio, two technology companies that recently inked agreements with Indiana. In 2015, Appirio announced that it would establish its corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. More recently, in August, Infosys signed an $8.7 million agreement with Purdue University, through which Purdue will train Americans to be hired by Infosys, while the company will establish new offices at the university. Perdue was a logical choice of partner given that it has the largest enrollment of Indian students of any US university.

Aside from these companies, Indiana hosts seven other Indian corporations, while a number of Indiana-based companies, like Eli Lilly and Cummins, have begun operations in India. These growing business ties have resulted in increased trade between Indiana and India, totaling $615 million in 2016, mainly including pharmaceuticals and motor vehicle parts. Almost 40,000 Indians live in Indiana, making them the largest group of Asian Americans in the state, while Indiana already maintains a sister city agreement with Hyderabad. Growing economic and cultural ties ensure the future of Indiana-India relations looks bright. 

Savannah Shih is a research intern at the East-West Center and a graduate student of Asian Studies at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.