The second meeting of the India-US strategic forum has further deepened the bilateral ties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the US had expounded his resolve to make India a $5 trillion economy in next five years. The India-US strategic forum delegation affirmed their faith in India’s resolve to double the size of her economy.
The forum which consists of top corporate CEOs and diplomats, concurred that the next five years of India would define the next 25 years of the world. Calling on the Indian Prime Minister, the forum delegation aptly endorsed the vision of Prime Minister Modi. The forum is headed by John Chambers. The delegation consisted of legendary American Cold War era Diplomat Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and over 300 CEOs of top ranking corporates.
India and the US, have seen their relations qualitatively evolve in the past few decades. This was endorsed by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal. He said that the bilateral ties are in the best of the health currently. In line with the visible vibrancy, experts are pegging the bilateral trade to grow to $238 billion by 2025. At the same time, India is well aware that trade issues have gained centrality in the American diplomatic architecture. India has also taken steps to align national interests to find mutual concurrence. Mr. Goyal told the forum about the new trade deal with the US that is on the anvil. It would be an affirmation of the two nations diligently ironing out rough edges.
Mr. Modi acquainted the forum about steps taken by India to further improve ‘ease of doing business’. India timely cut the corporate tax to incentivize private investment to spur economic growth. Besides, Prime Minister talked at length about the congenial eco-system for entrepreneurs. In fact, India has in the recent few years made serious attempts to institutionalize innovation through ‘Atal’ tinkering laboratories in schools. Prime Minister Modi also told the forum that India’s strength lies in 3Ds–Democracy, Demography and ‘Dimag’ (brain). The US knows better than others’ about Indians’ brain power. The Silicon Valley is a living testimony to Indian talents taking American economy to newer heights.
India-US business relations have demonstratively grown by leaps and bounds in the recent decades. India has appropriately opened up the country for contract manufacturing with 100 per cent foreign direct investment. It is true that the American large manufacturing giants are looking for alternatives to their China bases. A few of the East Asian countries have sought to take advantage. Yet, India’s assets in English language and ever growing skilled manpower with improved ease of doing business sentiment positions the country as an attractive investment destination.
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar rightly told the forum that business would henceforth be the bedrock of the bilateral relations. Dr Jaishankar aptly noted that Indian government’s thrust to qualitatively transform human resources would be an asset in Indo-US business ties.
Prime Minister during his US visit had also met with the CEOs of top US energy companies in Houston. That was followed up with the Indian Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan taking the energy dimension in the bilateral ties forward. Mr. Pradhan told the forum that India’s energy trade with the US would go past $10 billion this year. That India is looking to de-risk her oil imports from future uncertainties in Asian geo-politics is indeed a priority of the Indian government. India had previously tapped shale gas resources from the US.
The forum’s interaction with the top Indian political leadership came ahead of the scheduled visits of senior members of the Trump administration to India. A mutually beneficial India-US trade deal would surely be the icing on the cake for the thriving bilateral ties.
Script: Manish Anand, Sr. Special Correspondent, the New Indian Express