US, India should enhance ties through smart cities: US official

Modi-Obama

With bilateral relations thriving, the US is looking to step up investment in India’s smart cities project of urban transformation. “The sheer size and dynamism of our two economies means that there is tremendous opportunity to expand bilateral trade and investment even further.  Now is the time to deepen our already strong commercial relationship through collaboration on initiatives like smart cities,” US Department of Commerce’s Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews said.
He underlined the need for enhanced private sector investment in the urban renewal of India.

“To help build India’s smart cities, greater US private sector investment will depend on addressing persistent business challenges. For example, capital-intensive infrastructure projects are often delayed by protracted legal disputes and the inability to find financing.  This can be addressed by improving firms’ access to private capital, including through further development of India’s capital markets and improvements to the framework for public-private partnerships.”
Mr Andrews also said that the relationship between the two countries is already “thriving”. Focusing on the trade potential between the two countries, Mr Andrews said: “The two-way trade almost tripled in the last decade.”  “American exports to India reached USD 37.2 billion in 2014 and imports (from India) totalled USD 65.7 billion,” he added. Mr Andrews was  addressing a gathering at the ‘Smart Cities – The Way Forward’ conference, organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Chennai on February 11.

 

The smart cities programme aims to strengthen India’s urbanisation, technology and sustainability. Mr Andrews said that  the policymakers must address the demands when there is rapid urbanisation.

Speaking about the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the US-India CEO Forum, he said that they have been used as platforms to address issues like ease of doing business, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship.  “We are at the halfway point between the last S&CD meeting,” Mr Andrews added.

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