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Nooyi bids farewell to USIBC

Last updated on: June 3, 2010 16:32 IST

Nooyi bids farewell to USIBC

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Aziz Haniffa in Washington

Indra Nooyi, the outgoing chairman of the US-India Business Council, said that the two of the major achievements during her tenure were the signing of the US-India civilian nuclear deal - where the USIBC played a catalytic role in garnering support on Capitol Hill - and the univocal support extended by the members following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

She was speaking at the 35th anniversary celebrations of India-United States Business Council in Washington.

"These two events helped me to appreciate the value of USIBC," she said.

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Image: Indra Nooyi speaking at the USIBC anniversary function.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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Nooyi acknowledged the contribution of USIBC in terminating the 35 years of the technology denial regime against India which Frank Wisner (erstwhile US Ambassador to India and ex-chairman of USIBC) had remarked as 'the cinder in the eye of the US-India relationship.'

Nooyi, who successfully completed her two-year tenure with USIBC, lauded the leadership of Ron Somers (USIBC president) in leading the charge to make the nuclear deal a success in US Congress.

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Image: Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi,(Left) welcomes External Affairs Minister SM Krishna (centre) with Terry McGraw (right) to the USIBC's anniversary function in Washington, DC
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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"The friendship, support and solidarity that USIBC extended to India after Mumbai attacks was so moving.

This made me fully appreciate the importance of an organisation like this as one which puts friendship before business, respect before commerce, and humanity before economic benefits", she said.

Earlier, harking back to the formation of the USIBC in 1975, Nooyi said it was a time when the US-India relationship -- business, political, social -- were so different. "Nobody would have imagined that we will come so long. It's a milestone,"  Nooyi added.

USIBC had seen significant growth in membership and have seen new initiatives being launched like Green India, the Coalition for a Healthy India, and the USIBC education initiative.

"When we celebrated our 30th anniversary, we had 80 members. Today, we have 350 members. Majority of Fortune 500 companies are doing business in India. In 2005, we were worried about filling this hall. Today, we are at maximum capacity," said Somers.

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Image: From Left: USIBC President Ron Sommers, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, USIBC Chairman Terry McGraw, President of Boeing International Shephard Hill and Cohen Group Chairman William Cohen at USIBC anniversary function in Washington
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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It speaks volumes about US-India business relationship, which is a two-way street - with Indian companies investing in US and American companies in India. It was industry that got this relationship up and running, he added.

Somers also said, "Indra Nooyi has left an indelible mark on the legacy of USIBC and for that, we shall forever be grateful. And, I assure you, we will never squander this legacy."

Incoming chairman Terry McGraw, president and CEO of the McGraw Hill group of companies, said, it was incumbent now to continue to build on this relationship by taking it to the next level.

He said his agenda would be the three 'I's - investment, innovation and inclusion.

"We've to open the doors of opportunity to all our citizens," he said adding that India needs more opportunities as 54 per cent of the population is under the age of 25.


Image: Terry McGraw, Chairman, USIBC, addressing members in Washington.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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