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India’s top diplomat urges corporate sector to help realise full potential of India-US relationship


India’s top diplomat in the United States urged the corporate sector to help realise the full potential of the India-US relationship that, he said, has witnessed the strength of bipartisan support under the Biden administration.

India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said this will create value for companies and jobs for people.

“If there is one message that I have for all of you today that is please help us realise the full potential of this relationship,” Sandhu said in his address at the annual full board of directors meeting of the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) on Monday.

“Your efforts will bring in, of course, value to your companies, money for your shareholders, benefits for your customers, jobs for the people and in a much larger plane, strategic strength to our two nations. India and US’ relationship can only be strong if you are strong and if you make us strong,” he said.

Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen, USISPF chairman John Chambers, Cohen Group CEO William Cohen, FedEx president Rajesh Subramanian were among the attendees.

’10 significant events happened in last 10 days signify multi-faceted India-US partnership’

Complimenting the USISPF for its extraordinary work to bring India and the US together, Sandhu said that 10 significant events that have happened in the last 10 days signify the truly multi-faceted partnership between India and the US.

“First and foremost is the Quad Leaders Summit. This was the first Summit of Quad at the leaders’ level. This was also one of the first international summits hosted by the US that was held after President Biden took over. It was historic in many ways,” he said.

The summit put forth three practical areas of cooperation: vaccine manufacturing and delivery, critical and emerging technologies, and climate change, he said.

The Quad vaccine initiative aims to utilise the strengths of each partner — India’s manufacturing capacity, US technology, Japanese financing and Australia’s logistics capability — to manufacture vaccines and export them amongst Indo-Pacific countries, he added.

“Second is the successful visit of Secretary of Defence General Lloyd Austin to India, the first in-person visit since the new administration took office,” Sandhu said.

Third, the special forces bilateral exercise, ‘Vajra Prahar’, just concluded in India this weekend signifying increasing military-to-military cooperation.

Fourth, India and the US launched a bilateral initiative on artificial intelligence last week under the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum.

Fifth, Apple started manufacturing iPhones in India.

Sixth, India has resumed imports of apples from the US. The issue was stuck for a while because of certification and was sorted out just four days back.

“This also reflects the maturity of our two democracies to resolve issues and challenges,” Sandhu said.

Seventh is Ocugen, a biopharma company based in Pennsylvania, announcing that it would approach the FDA for emergency use authorisation of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by their partner in India, Bharat Biotech. They hope to be the fourth COVID vaccine to be allowed in the US, which will also complement other vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, he said.

Eighth, the US became India’s second-largest supplier of oil overtaking Middle Eastern countries.

“Ninth, again this will interest many of you, the Indian Space Research Organisation, what we call ISRO, shipped the radar payload made in India to NASA, for the world’s first earth observation satellite with two different radars, which will give very high-resolution images for a variety of space applications,” Sandhu said.

“After integration with their own radar payload here by NASA, it will be sent back to India and the NISAR-NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite will be launched later by ISRO. This will be an important milestone,” he said.

“Tenth, Indian students continued to be the second-largest group in the US by the country of origin as per the latest ICE figures despite the pandemic,” he added.

‘India unrolling largest vaccination programme in world’

India, Sandhu said, is currently unrolling the largest vaccination programme in the world and is confident that as life returns to some version of the normal, the V-shaped economic recovery will pick up.

“There are enough indications that the GDP growth this year will be well over 10 per cent. Recognising the immense opportunity for adding value to global supply chains, the government has announced production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes in 13 key sectors,” he said.

The PLI scheme goes hand in hand with a range of measures to improve the ease of doing business from changes to the insolvency and bankruptcy code to increase in FDI limits and deregulation of agricultural trade, he said, adding that he hoped the corporates would make use of these opportunities.

According to Sandhu, the India-US relationship under the new administration has witnessed the strength of bipartisan support.

“Even before the elections, candidate Biden had spoken about the importance of US ties with India. This was reiterated through the calls he had with Prime Minister Modi after the elections,” he said

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