Honourable Shri Dilip Walse-Patil, Speaker of the Maharashtra State Assembly, Mr Peter Haas, Consul General of the United States here in Mumbai, Mr Nanik Rupani, Miss Rajalakshmi Rao and members of the jury, award winners this evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let me first congratulate all the award winners who have been selected for this 9th edition of Indo-American Corporate Excellence Awards. It is the companies, Indian companies working in the United States, US companies working in India, joint ventures companies working all over the globe in the field of manufacturing, services, social sector, and NGOs, congratulations to all of you. Outstanding record has been chosen by the members of the jury to celebrate your successes, your contribution to both our countries, to India and US economy. You have set examples for others to follow so that they get corporate excellence awards next year.
Let me also take opportunity to congratulate the US Council on the 237th anniversary of independence of the United States of America both to the consulate here and the embassy in New Delhi and to the people of United States. People of Maharashtra greet the people of United States on their Independence Day. Our two countries share very warm relationship. Not only we are two largest democracies in the world but also we are very closely linked economically. Many of us had the opportunity to get very high quality education in the US. Today, world has travelled quite a lot. I went to the US for my studies. It was a different country altogether. The dollar was valued at Rs 4.77. So, you can imagine how much distance we have travelled. There is a set of economic slowdown, which is going to persist and impact of this we have seen in the Indian economy. The only way to get out of this for both our economies is to work closely together. India has a comparative advantage as United States. We will work together. I am sure both our economies would get out of the current situation to continue grow at usual rates. India has been growing at very substantial rate of growth of 8-9%. We want to get back that rate of growth very soon. I am sure working together will help us achieve this.
We have had a live dialogue with the US government. Last year I met secretary of commerce. Last week I had a delegation from Homeland Security working very closely together protecting Mumbai, Maharashtra and we had very useful consultations in Delhi as well. There are many areas we can work together. And I think what better than companies who have been with awarded today with corporate excellence award, which are acting as a bridge between our two countries, not only between two economies but also in every single sector and they are bringing us both together and I think strengthen of both these democracies augurs well for the future welfare of the world.
On this occasion, I congratulate Mr Nanik Rupani for having put together this wonderful programme. I think I am coming back to the IACC exactly after ten years. I am very happy to be back here. And compliments to you for the good work for bringing our two countries together. Maharashtra receives highest foreign direct investment. Maharashtra will continue to welcome American companies into the state and I am sure we will mutually benefit. Again congratulations to award winners, congratulations to Mr Haas, Mr Rupani, Thank you, Good night, ladies and gentlemen.