Maryland state surrounding the US capital on three sides "has been one of the pioneers in this regard and we admire and are completely supportive of the initiatives you have taken in this regard," she said in an address to the state assembly in Annapolis Tuesday.
Rao addressed both the chambers of the Maryland General Assembly, the first legislature set up in the United States, predating the Capitol in Washington DC. She also met the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Michael Busch.
State governor Martin O'Malley's six-day visit to India in November 2011 produced significant results with nearly USD 60 million in business deals for Maryland companies, Rao recalled.
This, she said citing the governor sent "a strong message to India's top business organizations and companies that Maryland is the gateway to doing business in the US."
Turning to the role of the Indian American community "in advancing the progress and well-being of the US", Rao said: "They epitomize strong family values, educational excellence, creativity, innovation, high standards of professionalism, and dedication to your core democratic principles and traditions."
Maryland's three Indian-American lawmakers, "Sam Arora, (House majority leader) Kumar Barve, Rajan Natarajan, and Aruna Miller are all proud Americans who are also proud of their Indian heritage," she said.
"They play a very important role in bringing our two countries together. They are the bridge-builders of friendship between India and Maryland particularly."
Rao hoped that in the future "Maryland will build stronger and stronger ties with states in India, that are good for businesses in both our countries, in manufacturing, in services, in education, in research and technological innovation.
"That future is what we must aspire to. That promise is what we must see fulfilled" added the ambassador.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
--IANS (Posted on 28-03-2013)