By Mahesh Abeyewardene
Indian-American industrialist Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar says the current trade between India and the United States stands at only $100 billion, can reach up to $1 trillion under the Trump administration. Kumar, who was a major backer of US President Donald Trump is planning his own Sri Lanka visit to meet his friend, who is the new Indian envoy to Colombo.
“The target in the first term is to take trade with India to $300 billion a year and put on a trajectory to be hitting almost $1 trillion a year by the second term,” Kumar said in an interview with The Sri Lanka Reporter from Washington DC.
“We want India to be the biggest trading partner with the US. Right now, it is one-way trade between the biggest trading partner China.”
Kumar is the President of the Republican Hindu Coalition that backed Trump in last November’s election. The BBC described him “as the go-to guy not just for Indian-Americans chasing opportunities in the new administration but apparently for the Indian officials seeking contacts with Trump aides.”
“President Trump would likely visit the Indian Subcontinent in the first year or two,” Kumar told The Sri Lanka Reporter.
Kumar also praised the new Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
“The new Indian envoy to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu is very close friend of mine. I am also told that Prime Minister Modi chose him particularly to build the same sort of relationship with Sri Lanka as he did here in the United States. Ambassador Sandhu and I have worked together for nearly 4 years. He invited me and my daughter Manasvi to visit Sri Lanka as soon as possible,” Kumar added.
His daughter Manasvi, 27, Indian actress and Supermodel played a role at President Trump’s inauguration.Kumar hoped that his daughter would take into politics someday, perhaps as a Congresswoman from Illinois.