India wants US companies to participate in smart city biz

IBM Smart City deal with Barcelona for beach
India has invited the US industry to participate in building smart cities and cleaning the Ganga river among other government initiatives and build long-term links with India’s economic growth story.

Addressing the US-India Business Council (USIBC) meeting in Washington, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said: “The business of diplomacy in India’s present government is business. The government’s priority from day one has been to make it easy to do business in India and with India.”

Addressing the gathering, which included US Secretary of State John Kerry, and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Sushma said that one of the key priorities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is “to focus sharply on meeting India’s developmental priorities and overcoming various challenges” for which high economic growth is needed.

Outlining the government’s policies, she said the focus is on building 100 smart cities, rejuvenating Ganga river, developing cities along the river’s bank, skilling 300 million youth by 2022, besides providing affordable power and housing to all and for Digital India.

These initiatives present real commercial and business opportunities for the US industry to partner with Indian public and private sector, for a win-win outcome.

While it would create wealth for the US companies, it would also add value to the Indian society, besides helping build long term links with India’s economic growth story and strengthen economic underpinnings of the India-US strategic partnership.

On Modi government’s stress on ensuring ease of doing business, she said: “We want to ensure that the concerns of those who create jobs and bring value to our countries are addressed. The decisions taken by the government have led to a significant jump in FDI inflow into India in the last one year.”

Sushma said there is a strong recognition between both countries of the larger strategic vision driving their partnership, which led to elevating the relationship through the Declaration of Friendship and adoption of a Joint Strategic Vision for Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region earlier this year, when our leaders met in New Delhi for India’s Republic Day.

“This strategic vision is also what I would appeal our business friends in the US to imbibe while doing business with India,” she said.

“We see business between our two countries not simply as transactions, but as yet another manifestation and another multiplier of that very important strategic convergence,” she said.

The USIBC was also attended by Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Power Minister Piyush Goyal, besides Ajay Banga, Chairman USIBC and Mukesh Aghi, president of the USIBC.

The USIBC meeting comes ahead of Modi’s US visit, which begins on September 24.

John T. Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco, has been elected as the next Chairman of US-India Business Council’s Board of Directors in place of Ajay Banga, President and CEO of MasterCard.

The announcement of Chambers appointment was made Monday by the largest bilateral US trade association made up of 300 top US and Indian companies, at its annual leadership summit that kicked off the US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

The transition will come at the end of the four-year term of Banga, who has been the Council’s longest-serving Chairman.


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