Trump administration calls Mahindra Detroit plant an illustration of India-US ties


Washington: Indian automobile giant Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd’s new manufacturing plant in Detroit with an investment of $230 million is an illustration of the India- US economic partnership, the Trump administration has said.

“We see this investment as another illustration of the important economic and business partnership between India and the United States,” Tom Vajda, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs told PTI, after Mahindra group chairman Anand Mahindra opened its new manufacturing plant in Detroit.

With an investment of $230 million, the Mahindra plant has created some 250 new jobs in Detroit, which is now just emerging out of the long economic recession after the 2008-09 collapse of the major American car manufacturing companies including Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.

The Mahindra plant which is expected to roll out its first off-loader most probably in January is being built by Detroit and State of Michigan in a sign of revival of economic fortunes of the car capital of the world.

Mahindra is one of the many Indian companies that are committed to the US market, just like many US companies operating in India, Vajda said. “We think this is a win-win situation, helps build the economies and spurs economic development, growth and job. So we are very pleased to see Mahindra making new investment,” he said. “This is the first major automotive investment in this part of Michigan in 25 years. This is an important milestone,” Vajda said, adding that Mahindra is very active in various other sectors as well across the United States.

Vajda till recently was the US Consul General in Mumbai. Reiterating that the Trump administration is committed to economic growth and jobs in the United States, Vajda said: “That’s what this plant represents.” Hiring new people, they are going to expand, and these are high paying jobs, the top American diplomat said.

“We look at it as very favourable,” he said in response to a question. In his remarks at the opening ceremony of the plant on Monday, Vajda said Mahindra automotive “Hundreds of US companies have been present in India for decades. And Indian companies and investors continue to look to expand their businesses in the United States. Mahindra is a great example. Not only has the company launched this new plant but also has tractor manufacturing and distribution facilities across the country, builds GenZ electric scooter in Arbor and has IT development centres throughout the United States,” he said.

“In total over 30 facilities, representing over USD 1 billion investment in the United States with over 3500 local employees. This is a good news for Michigan and rest of America, Good News for India and good news for our bilateral relationship,” Vajda said.

The opening of Mahindra Automotive centre in Auburn Hills illustrates how Indian companies are creating valuable jobs right here in the US, much like what US companies are doing in India, said Mukesh Aghi, president of the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum. “This kind of reverses the trend (of trade deficit), as it is about creating jobs in America. Also from the trade deficit perspective Indian companies are investing in America,” Aghi told PTI.

“I think, this is win-win for both countries. (The Trump Administration) looks at it as very positive,” he said. “I have no doubt this trend will only become stronger as the US and India are natural partners,” Aghi said. Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, who could not be present at the plant opening ceremony because of his other pressing engagements, said Mahindra is another enterprise that will invest and create jobs in the US.

Sarna said a report “Indian Roots, American Soil” of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) released last week “showed the depth of our” economic engagement. “Indian companies have so far invested nearly $18 billion in the US; and in the process created more than 113,000 jobs. It would be fair to say that India-US ties, across the spectrum, remain a shining beacon of Shared Prosperity and Well-Being for the Globe,” Sarna said.

Vajda said the Mahindra plant is not only “fantastic news” for the Indian company and the local community in Michigan, it also illustrates the strong partnership between the United States and India. The companies from the two countries tend to gravitate to each other because they share fundamental values: commitment to democracy, individual liberty, commitment to free market and value of an honest day’s work.

“These shared values form the foundation of an ambitious strategic partnership between the United States and India aimed at promoting prosperity and security not only in our two countries, but around the world,” he said. Noting that commercial and economic ties are fundamental to India US relationship, he said when President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Washington in June, the joint statement they released focused on the prosperity of the theme of prosperity and partnership.