AMONG FRIENDS: Abbott explores close ties between Texas and Mumbai

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Monday, March 26, 2018
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OPEN FOR BUSINESS: At the Rotary Club of West Bombay, Gov. Greg Abbott wanted members to know Texas is ready to expand relations with India.

MUMBAI, India (KTRK) -- In a city of 23 million people, there is always something going on in Mumbai. Nearly $4 billion in goods are shipped to India from our state every year.

Gov. Greg Abbott is working to make that number even bigger.

Wearing a ceremonial shawl, he addressed the Rotary Club of West Bombay, making sure each and every member knows Texas is open for business.

"You can be from anywhere and in Texas, you can achieve remarkable things," Abbott said.

This is the governor's first trip to India, but he says increasing political and economic ties are in his administration's best interest.

"There's a growing cultural connection. The Indian population in Texas has grown very very rapidly in the past two or three decades," Abbott said.

WATCH: How Mumbai came to Houston's aid during Harvey

More than 140,000 Indian Americans live in the Houston area.

"I want you to know that both the United States and Texas believe India is one of our important allies across the entire globe," Abbott said.

The governor also met with an Indian transportation company that means more to Houston than you might realize.

Abbott enjoyed a warm green from Anand Mahindra, chairman of the world's biggest tractor company, the Mahindra Group.

With four offices in Texas, including their North American headquarters in Houston, Mahindra's biggest impact was felt during Hurricane Harvey.

When the storm hit, Mahindra Group donated $1.5 million in cash, services and equipment to the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the Red Cross.

Our government agencies used Mahindra tractors to rescue families.

"I remember that we started selling tractors out of a beat up pick-up truck back in the 90's. Our first salesman, Rick Evans, went around Texas like an evangelist, telling people about this tractor from India and nobody thought we could sell those tractors but the people of Texas trusted us," Mahindra said.

The governor left today's meeting with a gift, a toy hydrogen car representing the future.

"The feel they are more than just a company doing business in Texas," Abbott said. "They feel that they are part of the community in Texas, so they want to invest in the community and invest in people that they cherish very much."

Mahindra came to the Houston area after County Judge Ed Emmett and others visiting Mumbai back in 2008 convinced them to come.

This is a long standing relationship only expected to grow stronger.