India-US Forum of Parliamentarians Meeting
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
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.