The India Investment Initiative will support enterprises which are increasing wellbeing throughout rural India. Photo courtesy of CASHPOR.

Announcing the India Investment Initiative

“Chalein saath saath; forward together we go.”

A lot is changing in in the relationship between the US and India, and there is great promise in the future we share.

The talks between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi during the President’s historic visit to India this past week as the guest of honor at Republic Day have focused on nuclear cooperation, climate change and capital investment. The two leaders have made progress on a ground-breaking nuclear deal and agreements on clean energy. However, the structural challenges of increasing capital flows to India will likely impede our two countries from countries progressing as fast as we’d like to increase investment.

There is a recognized need for increased investment in India to build infrastructure and support sustainable development. Many U.S. sources of capital, including corporate and private sources such as pension funds, are arguably under invested in India’s economy relative to its size and rate of growth. To mobilize additional capital, India will likely need to revise foreign capital investment policies as well as ensure predictability of investment rules. An investor can -- and will -- quantify business and market risk, but cannot quantify unpredictability.

Yesterday, on Republic Day in New Delhi, President Obama announced the Indian American Diaspora Initiative, an innovative collaboration between Calvert Foundation, USAID and social enterprise investors in India that will leverage the U.S.-based Indian American diaspora to fund sustainable development across India. This initiative will respond to an identified need for capital to grow and scale Indian social enterprises, businesses that reduce poverty and benefit society on a multitude of levels, and underscores the joint goal of the U.S. and India to “Leverage the talents and strengths of our people to enhance sustainable, inclusive development.” This Initiative will allow our countries to maintain the momentum of this historic meeting beyond Republic Day and to achieve “Sanjha Prayaas, SabkaVikaas” – “ Shared Effort, Progress For All.”

The Indian American Diaspora Initiative will launch later in 2015 and U.S. investors will be able to help increase the flow of capital to underserved communities in India by investing in Calvert Foundation’s Community Investment Note. This represents an additional way for members of the Indian diaspora to support their country of heritage and an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for capital that exists in India. A prominent group of roughly 3 million people, Indian-Americans are amongst the best-educated and highest earning migrant groups in the U.S. with a median household income of almost $90,000*.

We look forward to sharing more about this initiative as it unfolds over the coming months. We will be hosting events across the U.S. to listen to the Indian diaspora to provide support in developing this Initiative in a way that resonates with what is important to Indian Americans (and anyone else interested in supporting the initiative).