In­dia-US Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans Meet­ing

FICCI Business Digest - - Special Features -

In keep­ing with the cal­i­brated en­deav­our to strengthen In­dia's in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships through Track II ini­tia­tives, FICCI or­gan­ised a meet­ing of the In­dia-US Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans on May 5, 2015 at Fed­er­a­tion House, New Delhi. Nine­teen Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment across party lines, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from industry, academia and se­nior of­fi­cials from the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia at­tended the meet­ing. The Chair of the In­dia US Fo­rum of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, Bai­jayant 'Jay' Panda re­called that the Fo­rum since es­tab­lish­ment in 2002 has seen three ad­min­is­tra­tions on either side. The Fo­rum mem­bers en­gaged in an in­ter­est­ing closed door dis­cus­sion with Richard Rahul Verma, US Am­bas­sador to In­dia, the first In­dian Amer­i­can to hold this im­por­tant post. Am­bas­sador Verma is pas­sion­ate about tak­ing the In­dia US re­la­tion­ship to a higher tra­jec­tory and be­lieves that time is ripe to move to a “Strate­gic Plus” phase of the In­dia US Global Part­ner­ship. The fol­low­ing are the high­lights of the meet­ing: Re­cent high level vis­its: Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi's visit to USA in Septem­ber 2014, fol­lowed by Pres­i­dent Obama's visit to In­dia in Jan­uary 2015 has brought in­creased at­ten­tion to the In­dia US re­la­tion­ship. There is an in­creas­ing con­ver­gence of in­ter­est due to do­mes­tic fac­tors, global de­vel­op­ments and geo-strate­gic fac­tors. The move to­wards the “Strate­gic Plus” phase in the re­la­tion­ship en­tails not just a large num­ber of con­verg­ing in­ter­ests but a com­mon vi­sion of a more peace­ful, pros­per­ous and sta­ble world. Peo­ple to peo­ple ties will form the foundation of this vi­sion. The dis­cus­sion touched upon the five key pil­lars of In­dia-US re­la­tions: Strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion; en­ergy and cli­mate change; ed­u­ca­tion and de­vel­op­ment; trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, health and

in­no­va­tion.

o In­dia-US bi­lat­eral trade crossed the $100-bil­lion mark in 2014 and the US is keen to work with In­dia to­wards achiev­ing an am­bi­tious $500 bil­lion turnover.

o FDI and tech­nol­ogy trans­fers in defence should have much more in­ter­est from US firms. Co-pro­duc­tion and code­vel­op­ment in a fair and trans­par­ent in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty regime should be the goal. There is also a need to have an open dis­cus­sion on defence and mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion.

o Gen­eral in­vest­ment needs to rise even though there has been a 5 fold in­crease in 10 years.

o Po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion is not fully utilised in ed­u­ca­tion and agri­cul­ture. Co­op­er­a­tion with best per­form­ing uni­ver­si­ties, stu­dent and fac­ulty ex­change pro­grams and es­tab­lish­ing branch in­sti­tutes of Ivy League uni­ver­si­ties, joint re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

o More should be done to fa­cil­i­tate or­ganic partnerships and tech­nol­ogy trans­fer in re­new­able en­ergy and clean tech industry. The US is keen to sup­port In­dia in biomass, wind and so­lar en­ergy projects.

o High po­ten­tial for col­lab­o­ra­tion in trans­fer of ad­vanced knowl­edge of med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy and at­mo­spheric sci­ence as well as R&D ecosys­tems.

o FDI in­flows, im­mi­gra­tion is­sues and ob­sta­cles faced by busi­ness were dis­cussed. Open dis­cus­sion, in­volv­ing stake­hold­ers is called for to re­solve th­ese and en­hance eco­nomic ties. · It is im­por­tant to have a stronger re­la­tion­ship be­tween the In­dian and US elected mem­bers and leg­is­la­tors for a sus­tained di­a­logue on the In­dia US re­la­tion­ship. This will feed into for­mal pro­cesses and at the same time, iden­tify fur­ther pos­si­bil­i­ties through di­a­logue and a closer un­der­stand­ing of each other's strengths and needs.

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