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Fremont’s two-week trade mission to India to cost taxpayers $28,500

From our Citywise column that ran Saturday.

Fremont Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan is leading a delegation of elected officials, city employees, and community and business leaders on a two-week trip to India.

The 13-person group includes Councilman Vinnie Bacon, Assistant City Manager Mark Danaj, Deputy City Manager Nadine Nader and Economic Development Director Kelly Kline. Mike Holtzclaw and Bill Sharar, two Ohlone College representatives, as well as officials from Fremont tech companies and the Bay Area chapter of the Center for International Trade Development also joined the trade mission.

From Friday to Nov. 27, the delegation is scheduled to visit the cities of Chennai, Bangalore and Jaipur, said Cheryl Golden, a Fremont city spokeswoman. Chennai, set on the southeastern coast, is a manufacturing hub, while the central city of Bangalore, Natarajan’s hometown, is India’s technology base. Jaipur, one of Fremont’s sister cities, is in north India, near Delhi.

India has more than 1.2 billion residents and the world’s 11th largest economy. In Fremont, nearly 1 in 5 of 217,000 residents are Indian-American, and two serve on the five-member City Council.

The trip’s goals include helping Fremont companies gain a larger market presence in India; establishing partnerships between the city and Indian companies for job creation; making connections with investors seeking construction projects in Fremont and other parts of Alameda and Santa Clara counties; and promoting Ohlone College and other educational institutions with overseas companies.

The trip will cost Fremont taxpayers about $28,500, city officials said. City Manager Fred Diaz, who was out of the office Friday, could not be reached for comment about the trade mission.

Chris DeBenedetti