The US economic development agency’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation or OPIC has said it is “looking to help Indians” by partnering and investing in early-stage companies.
“We work on the development needs with our partner countries like India, where we have investments across 40 projects for $1.5 billion,” OPIC executive vice president David Bohigian told reporters on Tuesday. “By partnering and investing, we are looking to help Indians to develop early-stage companies.”
Mr Bohigian was appointed by President Donald Trump as the executive vice president of OPIC. He joined the corporation in August 2017.
To expand relations with India, Mr Bohigian said they were proud to invest in Iron Pillar, a mid-stage India-focused venture capital fund.
“We were in Mumbai where we launched our venture capital initiative. This is the first time OPIC has invested in venture capital,” he said.
The OPIC operates by providing loan guarantees and other financial products for business projects to partner countries in which US businesses, too, benefit.
In 2016, the US had announced two financial projects worth $95 million in India for bringing more energy-efficient appliances to the rural sector.
Asserting that the Indo-Pacific strategy announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a key component, Mr Bohigian said they are looking for more capital and partners in India. The Indo-Pacific region, as per US strategic nomenclature, stretches from the United States’ west coast to the west coast of India.
In Washington, Mr Pompeo in July had no country does more two-way trade in the Indo-Pacific than the United States. “In Southeast Asia, the US is the single-largest source of cumulative foreign investment — larger than China, Japan and the European Union,” he had said.
Mr Pomepo’s announcement came at a time when the US and China are locked in a trade war. Experts see this as a response to China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative.
However, Mr Bohigian denied this view and said their aim was to make a positive impact in the business of their partner countries.