FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear predicted Tuesday his recent seven-day economic-development trip to India will result in jobs for Kentucky.
"I feel confident that we will be in a position to announce new jobs and investments in the next several months as a result of this trip," Beshear said during a telephone interview.
Beshear is the first sitting Kentucky governor to make an official visit to India. With him on the trip to New Delhi and Mumbai were his wife, Jane, and state Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes.
Beshear said the trip was sponsored and paid for by a trade group, the National Association of Software and Service Companies.
"We wanted to go to open up some direct lines of communication between Kentucky and the Indian business community," Beshear said.
On the trip, Beshear said he met with chambers of commerce and several businesses already doing business in Kentucky or considering locating in the United States, including Chandra Proteco and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Chandra Proteco, which makes copper cable, announced last December it will start a manufacturing plant with 106 employees in Morgantown. Mahindra & Mahin dra, a conglomerate, has a contract with Kentucky dealing with child support.
Beshear said he sees "very significant possibilities of developing a substantial relationship between the Indian business community and Kentucky."
He noted Kentucky now has six Indian-owned companies with about 1,500 employees and about $50 million in investment.
"I liken our situation with India to the situation we had with Japan 25 years ago," Beshear said. "When we convinced Toyota to come to Kentucky, we had four Japanese-owned businesses in Kentucky. Today, 25 or so years later, we have 146 Japanese businesses in Kentucky employing some 33,000 people."
Beshear said in India he talked to businesses ranging from automotive to information technology.
Most of the large businesses in India are conglomerates and involved in different types of business ventures, he said.
India is interested in Kentucky, Beshear said, "because of our favorable business climate, the good reputation of our workforce, our tax structure and low energy costs."
Beshear also said India is interested in developing partnerships with Kentucky universities to have more student exchanges.
India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is a leading trade and economic partner for the United States. The country's gross domestic product grew by 112 percent between 2003 and 2008. Kentucky's exports to India grew more than 252 percent to $96.5 million over the same period.