COVID-19 Pandemic has literally jolted the entire world’s economy and is impacting the worldwide equations between the nations. In the post-COVID scenario, experts are expecting a few nations emerging as more united than ever. This is expected from US & India relations. The United States with over 3 Million Indian origin citizens. This data holds a greater prospect for better and improvised relations between the two nations.
Apart from Sunder Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, there are many Indian origin US citizens who are continuously contributing in the direction of bringing the two countries to be closer to each other in not only business & trade but also culturally.
Strong Voice of Indian Origin Businessmen
One such prominent name is Indian American hotelier & hospitality businessmen Danny Gaekwad who appealed to Donald Trump administration to reopen the economy “With common-sense precautions.” Sharing an overview in the hospitality industry, at a roundtable discussion hosted by Vice President Mike Pence in Orlando recently, Mr. Gaekwad said such a move will “help our industry and our state get our economy moving again.”
Mr. Gaekwad is a prominent face of Indo-US relations and as a Chairman of OSEM Hospitality Management, he represented the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) in the presence of Vice President Pence. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and several prominent business leaders from the state were also present in the roundtable.
While it was a unanimous mandate came out from the roundtable that says economic activities must restart in a phased manner.
“This pandemic hit the hotel industry particularly hard, and owners and employees alike continue to struggle,” said Gaekwad, a resident of Ocala and a prominent Republican donor, told the vice president. “Reopening our businesses with common-sense precautions that prioritize the health and wellbeing of employees and guests will help our industry and our state get our economy moving again.”
Restarting The Hospitality Industry
Coming on to the hotel industry, while praising Donald Trump administration for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Mr. Gaekwad noted that without guests the effects of the program become difficult to get implemented in reality. Comparing the current situation with the previous year’s business performance it is so obvious to understand the negative growth of business due to the COVID led losses. “Since the hotel occupancy is down to so minimum it becomes very difficult to utilise the PPP Money. There is no guest in my room, how do I get my employees to serve them. My employees are ready, but who will they serve? That is our biggest dilemma,” said Gaekwad. He recommended technical corrections to the program that would give small business owners greater flexibility in using the loans to cover operating expenses and underscored the need for the government to prioritize Economic Injury Disaster loans to support small businesses.
Gaekwad also shared the issues that hotel owners seeking forbearance on Commercial Mortgage-Backed Security (CMBS) loans encounter with predatory practices, which he termed the “Big Bad Wolf,” and urged Pence and DeSantis to support regulatory assistance to prevent mass foreclosures on hotel assets and a potential collapse of fixed income markets.
“You can only save us by putting some legislation to put that big bad wolf in a cage. If you won’t put it in a cage, he will finish us,” said Gaekwad.
“As an immigrant, my whole family works in a business because it does bother us. I represent here more than 20,000 [AAOHA] members. We all came with an American Dream. I thought I saw 9/11, I thought I saw the greatest recession. I have never seen this and I was never prepared for this.”
On the contrary, Indian Americans holds high amount of respect and credibility in the United States for their entrepreneurial vision and capabilities. However, a considerable amount of Indian Americans are small business owners.
The Synergy of Trade & Cricket Between India & US
Among such dynamic American Indian names, Bhagi Nanda Sandilya is a young entrepreneur, financial services executive and Indian American resident who is working as lead in the areas of Technology and Energy Business as well as Sports. Nanda, being a former Ranji Trophy cricketer who played for Hyderabad from U-17-25 and was part of the Hyderabad Ranji Trophy team in mid-nineties, T20 world record holder for 4X4 wickets in a row and he is instrumental to have executive meetings with US President Donald Trump about Indian Cricket.
However, emphasising on the future of India & US relations, Nanda commented, “The world dynamics are fast changing after COVID-19. Apart from the fact that India is my motherland, I consider that Its relations with the United States will set the tone of the near future and both India and the USA have the right founding principles to be successful and being a role model blueprint for every country. Business and Economic synergies will be going to get stronger and stronger in the post-COVID time. Moreover, these bilateral relations which increased after 1960 will further be improvised and deepened as trade partnerships between India and the US are already becoming a great asset for both sides because of unique value propositions. There are several areas that can drive growth between India and the US for the years ahead.”
Commenting on the aspect of sports synergies between India and the US, he said, “Being a professional cricketer I consider cricket has a great potential for India and the United States partnership. India is a world-leading cricket playing nation and the US is the world’s most game-loving country.” Having played professional cricket with world's most well-known cricketers, Mr Nanda is a founding member of the world's first largest T20 tournament held at Los Angeles back in 2005. “I consider that this sport has a lot of potential if played and promoted in the US with proven strategies framework and dedicated resources From grass root levels namely schools parks colleges corporates interstates regional and national levels Because the US has qualified for ICC tournaments and has a great population of people with the origin of cricket playing nations like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Caribbean (West Indies) UK South Africa Australia this factor will pull a great amount of crowd to stadiums here,” says Mr. Nanda.
However, Mr. Nanda has strong plans and is associated in building cricket arenas in major cities for US Cricket Development. And he has initiated a few discussions on this topic with US President Mr. Donald Trump and his advisors.
President Trump in his recent trip to India participated in World’s largest gathering in a cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. This experience has led to Prez. Trump to feel the greatness of this gentleman game of cricket while addressing the massive crowd in a cricket stadium. We need at least 5-10 Ahmedabad style stadiums in the USA within the next 5 years can be a winning strategy for both countries. Nanda was also marketing executive for All Stars T20 Cricket series which was held in 2015 NY Houston and LA baseball stadiums with participation of all 30 world cricket legends lead by Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne which was attended by 25,000-32,000 cricket fans in USA.
Having said this, synergies between India and the US covers so many industry sectors like Solar, renewable energy, Information technology, space, power, IoT, Pharmaceuticals, Military equipment, Transportation, commodities, Food, and so on. But, it is an important need of the hour to prepare and implement a strong restart plan after COVID-19 for business partnerships growth and expansion. And in that restart plan, India-American businesspeople hold great prominence in writing a great new chapter of Indo-US relations in 2020 and generations ahead.