MONTGOMERY, AL – Governor Bob Riley will not be leaving Saturday on a scheduled economic development mission to India and instead will stay in Alabama as the state continues preparations for an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.
The economic development mission to India will, however, go forward. About 25 Alabama business and education leaders will be in India next week to explore trade and investment opportunities and to make inroads into one of the world's fastest growing economies.
"Because of the enormity of the situation we face, I will remain in Alabama to make sure our state agencies work closely with those at the federal level and with BP to deal with this emergency," said Governor Riley.
Governor Riley has been in Mobile twice this week to meet with officials of the U.S. Coast Guard, BP and state agency leaders to prepare Alabama's response to the oil leak that could impact the state's shores in the next few days. The Governor will be back on the Alabama coast this afternoon to watch oil containment booms being placed in the waters around Dauphin Island.
While in India, members of the Alabama delegation will hold meetings, industry presentations and networking events in New Delhi and Mumbai with potential Indian business customers, investors and partners.
India has become one of the state's rising trading partners. Alabama's exports to India jumped 63 percent from 2008 to 2009, from $98.9 million to $161.4 million.
PricewaterhouseCoopers projects that India will be the world's third largest economy by 2021.
The Alabama Development Office, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Export Alabama Alliance held workshops and seminars for Alabama companies interested in pursuing new business opportunities in India in 2009.
The mission to India will focus on partnering Alabama businesses with potential customers and on recruiting new business investments in Alabama. Members of the Alabama delegation will also hold meetings with leaders of Indian universities about faculty and student exchanges and joint research efforts. Officials from Alabama State University, the University of North Alabama, Auburn University, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham will be part of the state's delegation.