US diplomat bullish on economic ties with India

Ahead of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden trip to Washington in September, the US has conjured up a robust picture of economic partnership with India and hoped to scale up bilateral trade to $500 billion under the new dispensation in New Delhi.

At an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi on June 25, US Chargé d’Affaires in Delhi, Michael P. Pelletier, highlighted that the US was keen on attracting more investment from India, and looked forward to working with the new Indian leadership.

“We are especially eager to work cooperatively with the new Indian government, and the business communities from both of our countries, to broaden and deepen our commercial partnerships,” he said.

The diplomat identified civil aviation, defence, information and communications technologies and infrastructure as key focus areas in the burgeoning economic relations between the world’s largest democracies.  Expressing the US’ enthusiasm to invest in India’s growing defence sector, he said the US government looked forward to pursuing co-production and co-development initiatives of mutual interest.

Given India’s huge market, the diplomat made a case that those who ‘wisely’ decided to ‘Buy American’ will receive a number of low-cost and fixed rate financing.   The US was also open to increased Indian investment, he said, adding investment in the US would signify a positive trend for India, where companies move up the value chain and look to have a stronger presence in the US market.

The diplomat also alluded to the significant human dimension of the partnership. Pelletier noted that the top 50 U.S. companies in India employ over 500,000 Indians, while Indian companies employ over 81,000 Americans.

Following a decade of strong growth, in 2013 the India-US trade amounted to nearly $100 billion, which can go up to  $500 billion in the not too distant future. The US has ramped up the presence of it commercial services in more than 20 Indian cities.

Despite trade barriers, bilateral investments between the two countries have rapidly increased. According to official statistics, US foreign direct investment in India has grown fivefold to reach $28 billion. Indian companies have invested $17 billion in the United States, including Indian oil and gas companies that have invested over $6 billion in developing U.S. shale oil and gas reserves.

“The key to enhancing our shared prosperity is the ability for both sides to sit down together to address the concerns in a frank and practical manner. The United States is committed to raising our level of communication and to taking concrete actions based on our respect for one another and understanding of the issues,” he said.

 

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