India is all the rage these days.
Now it’s U.S. Sen. Mark Warner’s turn.
Warner (D), who in 2005 was the first Virginia governor to visit that country and who is co-chairman of the Senate’s India caucus, will jet off to India Saturday.
He and four other members of Congress are scheduled to meet with government and business leaders in New Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Kolkata, to try to expand business, trade, defense and cultural relationships.
Oh, and this is fun. They’ll visit a National Basketball Association-sponsored camp and exhibition game for children in New Delhi (who knew there was such a thing?). And they’ll be on hand when the Virginia Community College System and the nonprofit Wadhwani Foundation sign off on an agreement to expand training curriculum for skilled trades within India. “The United States and India share a common democracy, a common language and a broad understanding of business,” Warner said in a statement. “I believe we have reached a point where it is time for the U.S.-India relationship to advance from a longtime friendship to a full partnership.”
Warner will be accompanied on the week-long trip by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Reps. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), who is co-chairman of the House India Caucus.
The congressional delegation will be the first to visit the state of West Bengal since the Communist Party was defeated after 34 years of party rule there. They also hope to learn more about education, child health, food safety and water purification efforts across the poorer regions of India.
Virginia exports to India in 2010 were valued at about $294 million – up from $284 million in 2009 and $190 million in 2008, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. McDonnell officially opened new trade offices in India when he went in November.