India will benefit from the visit of Ivanka Trump, daughter of the U.S. President and Presidential Adviser, says the head of a key business chamber, dismissing criticism of the “royal welcome” Ms. Trump received.
“While her title may be “Adviser”, President Trump is all ears for her. And it is hoped that Ms. Trump will carry back a more hopeful response on the opportunities that exist in India,” said Mukesh Aghi, president of the Washington-based U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), who led a major business delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Ms. Trump for a one-on-one conversation and hosted her at a grand banquet at the Falaknuma palace of the Nizams.
Opposition parties questioned why the Prime Minister had broken with protocol to felicitate someone who is not a head of state or government. “The Prime Minister has belittled the position of PM by attending an event of Ivanka Trump,” alleged Congress leader Anand Sharma on Wednesday.
Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Aghi said it was necessary to see Ms. Trump’s position not just as an adviser but also in terms of her influence with the U.S. President. “I think you have to look at the weight she carried for China. During the election campaign, the President was very critical of China and Ivanka was the conduit for the Chinese to the President. And as you saw, a state visit [by President Trump to Beijing] took place in November,” he said.
Asked about the impact of Ms. Trump’s visit to India, Mr. Aghi said “the immediate impact is there is much more awareness on a global basis that India is a fantastic opportunity for start-ups,” adding that the GES had sent out a “clear message” that it is important to mentor more women professionals.
“If you get more women professionals coming into the work environment then by 2025 you will see global growth rise by 12 trillion dollars. In India it would see a 3% rise in GDP if women were brought into the workforce to the potential,” he said. Speaking about the Indo-U.S. trade relationship, Mr. Aghi said that it could only jump from its current levels of $114 billion for goods and services (including $67.7 billion for goods trade) to the goal of $500 billion if India increases market access to U.S. companies.