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Digital India growth floored US businesses

The bullish sentiment on India was on clear display; stronger links to further galvanise relationship with American businesses

Digital India growth floored US businesses

Washington: American businesses are struck by how much more digital India has become and there is a broad sense of overall appreciation of the ease of doing business in the country, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said.

During a luncheon meeting, US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) President Mukesh Aghi presented Jaishankar with USISPF's coffee table book titled, 'We The People', chronicling 75 years of the US-India story, strengthened by the minister's efforts. The USISPF is committed to creating the most powerful strategic partnership between the US and India.

"Delighted to participate in a business luncheon" with USISPF, Jaishankar tweeted. "Noted the high interest in transformational changes happening in India in energy, health, climate, infrastructure and logistics and defence domains," he said.

"American businesses are struck by how much more digital India has become, how effectively the government is practising digital delivery, what a change that has been in startups and innovation, and how much more enthusiastic students and young innovators are. A lot of positive references to the drone policy, to the change in labour laws to the production linked incentive policies," Jaishankar told a group of Indian reporters on Wednesday at the conclusion of the US visit.

During the Washington DC-leg of his visit, he held two separate luncheons with leaders from the corporate sectors organised by US India Business Council and US India Strategic and Partnership Forum. "I almost invite, I won't say criticism, but I invite problems. I asked people to say give me your difficulties. But yesterday and today, much more than I had before I largely heard a positive appreciation. It doesn't mean that there is no room to grow, doesn't mean that we are close to perfection," he said.

"I'm very real about where we are, and I think so is the government and the Prime Minister. But it did leave me with a reflection that we appear to have made solid progress and more importantly communicated that to the American business community," Jaishankar said.

During the luncheon organised by USIBC, Jaishankar met with the CEOs and senior industry executives representing Occidental, Lockheed Martin, Tata Sons, Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, Citi, Liberty Mutual, Google, Stripe, and Carlyle. During his lunch discussions organised by USIBC on Tuesday, Jaishankar shared with the CEOs and executives his views on India's prospects for economic growth, and as a hub for direct investment in manufacturing, digital economy, services, energy, and other key sectors.

"The bullish sentiment on India was on clear display. Shared the conviction that stronger business links will further galvanize our relationship," the minister said in a tweet. He also discussed India's forthcoming presidency of the G20, the growing prominence of the Quad platform in the Indo-Pacific, and the central importance of US-India Business ties in steadying and strengthening bilateral relations, according to a USIBC statement.

Additional, key topics of discussion at the lunch included the situation in the Indo-Pacific, geopolitical tensions, and the impact on the global economy, as well as the challenges on climate and energy policy. During the lunch, industry executives expressed optimism regarding India's growth trajectory, and commitment to engage with the government further on these issues, as well as policies for expanding foreign direct investment, the statement said.

Lalit K Jha
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