FICCI's Forum of Parliamentarians: Bridging Indo-US Relationship
Thematic focus: Socio-economic potential of Media and Entertainment and Sports sectors and best practices from the US
Ahead of India's election year in 2019 and United States Midterm elections 2018 – perhaps as the last outbound delegation from FICCI's Forum of Parliamentarians during the 16th Lok Sabha – a group of nine members of Parliament visited the United States as part of the annual mission of the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians.
Twin Focus Areas:
Foreign Policy & Bilateral Relationship; Sectoral Theme
An understanding of India-US Strategic Partnership:
To gain an understanding of foreign policy and to interact with political and policy decision-makers with special emphasis on India and Asia-Pacific. The visit reiterated once again, the bipartisan support that India has enjoyed over the years in the United States.
The Forum of Parliamentarians is FICCI's unique initiative for political outreach across party affiliations covering both Houses of the Indian Parliament in true bipartisan spirit. FICCI's India-US Forum of Parliamentarians was constituted in 2002 along the lines of the 'India Caucus' and 'Senate Friends of India' Group in the US Congress. It provides an important platform to Indian Parliamentarians to develop and strengthen India-US relations through Track II initiatives on a neutral platform.
The 2018 edition delivered all that it promised and more! A grounding
in foreign policy through a workshop with experts at Georgetown University, exchange of views with key stakeholders in the India-US political, economic and policy matrix and a clear thematic focus (M&E and Sports were the twin focus areas for 2018) was delivered through site visits and interaction with industry leadership and regulatory arms of the US government.
The study visit of 2018 covered a wide range of interactions in Los Angeles and Washington DC from 915 September 2018. The multi-party group of MPs was led by Anurag Singh Thakur, Member of Parliament and Harshavardhan Neotia, Past President, FICCI and Chair of FICCI Forum of Parliamentarians Council.
The exciting journey commenced with a visit to Los Angeles to understand the socio-economic contribution of two sectors to the American economy and society: media and entertainment and sports ecosystem. The significance of university sports and affirmative action in sport was covered alongside a glimpse into the business model and strategy of sports leagues. Visits to Fox Studios, Netflix, Disney Studios, National Geographic Headquarters and Monumental Sports and Entertainment – Capital One Arena – was a visual treat and helped understand the passion and precision of the business.
An educational exchange and live demonstration on Piracy Living Room organised by MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) was a literal eye-opener into the domain of online and sophisticated piracy.
Constant adaptation and the challenge to continuously create fresh content, enhance audience experience and upgradation of services on demand emerged as the most popular strategy. 'Light touch'
regulatory environment that works to create an enabling environment for market forces came forth as the aspect to be appreciated across the two sectors.
A visit to the LA2028 Olympics Organising Committee Headquarters for an interaction with the leadership offered an account of the systematic and inclusive engagement of local community and stakeholders right from the bidding and planning stages. The emphasis on sustainability and cost-effective approach to the creation of infrastructure and preparation for the games was an eye opener.
Before the DC leg of the tour, the first edition of the 2+2 Dialogue had ended in New Delhi the week before with the historic signing of COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) and a strong commitment to work towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
There was indeed palpable enthusiasm amongst political leaders and administration officials for a closer, synchronised partnership between India and the US. Growing concerns about China's assertiveness in the region were also evident.
The delegation met peers in the India Caucus, House Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, attended a closed-door meeting with Federal Communications Commission (Mike O'Rielly, FCC Commissioner), USTR (Mark Linscott, Asst USTR, South and Central Asia, Sam Dupont, ICT Services and Digital Trade) and senior officials responsible for US Foreign Policy towards India and the contiguous region: Lisa Curtis (Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for South and
Members of FICCI's Forum of Parliamentarians in the US with Indian Ambassador to US.