Blinken described the forthcoming state visit by PM Narendra Modi as "historic"
Economic ties are at the heart of the India-US strategic relationship, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said. Addressing the US-India Business Council’s India Ideas Summit on June 12, 2023, Blinken also highlighted how India and the US were helping to shape the innovations of the future. Secretary of State Blinken pointed out that last year alone saw record-breaking trade activity between the two countries, totaling $191 billion. "American companies have now invested at least $54 billion in India, from manufacturing to telecommunications. In the United States, Indian companies have invested over $40 billion in IT, in pharmaceuticals, and more, supporting 425,000 jobs from California to Georgia. Just this February, Air India announced the historic purchase of more than 200 Boeing aircraft, which will support an estimated 1 million-plus jobs across 44 of the United States," he said. The growth of this economic partnership is a testament to the commitment of both nations towards building a mutually beneficial relationship. It reflects their shared interests in fostering innovation, creating jobs, and promoting sustainable development. "So we are here almost literally on the eve of what we believe will be a historic state visit by Prime Minister Modi – one that will further solidify what President Biden has called the “defining relationship” of the 21st century," he remarked. Blinken's remarks underscored how important economic cooperation is for strengthening ties between countries. As such, it will be interesting to see how this partnership continues to evolve and what new opportunities may arise from it in the future. During his address, Blinken noted how both countries have made transformative investments in their infrastructure plans, such as President Biden’s $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law followed by Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS Act while Prime Minister Modi announced a 100 trillion-rupee infrastructure plan. 'INDIA, US SHAPING INNOVATIONS OF THE FUTURE' Secretary of State Blinken also highlighted how India and the US were shaping innovations of the future. "Together, we’re helping to shape the innovations of the future, but not just the innovations themselves, also – and this is so critical – the norms, the standards, and rules that govern them, from artificial intelligence to quantum computing," he explained. He referred to the decision of the two governments to launch a new initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET). "We’re elevating and expanding the strategic technology partnership between governments, but also between businesses, between academic institutions in both our countries – because we believe how technology is designed, how it is used should be informed by democratic values and respect for human rights," he said. The US Secretary of State further added that diversifying supply chains is crucial, while reducing strategic dependencies with trusted partners is necessary for building more resilient economies. The US International Development Finance Corporation recently provided USD 500 million to help an American company build a solar manufacturing facility that will create over 1,000 jobs for Indians and Americans alike. Shifting towards investing in people, he praised Indian-Americans who created one-third of all immigrant-founded startups in America, adding value to both economies. The education systems have produced leaders from iconic companies like Google to former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga who is now president of World Bank among many others. The trajectory of this partnership has been evolving rapidly over just two decades, with North Carolina becoming a hub for Indian investment where tech companies like HCL created 2400 jobs training American high schoolers for IT careers. This explosion of commercial activity was unimaginable fifteen years ago, highlighting how much potential there still is for further growth. Secretary Blinken concluded his speech by emphasizing the importance of maintaining a strategic relationship between India and the US. He noted that this partnership is filled with promise and opportunities to build bridges for future generations. As they continue advancing ideas together, investing in people and diversifying supply chains while reducing strategic dependencies will be crucial to building more resilient economies. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE INDIA IDEAS SUMMIT The relationship between the United States and India has been growing stronger in recent years, with both countries forging closer ties in many areas such as trade, defence, and security. Against this backdrop, this year's USIBC India Ideas Summit was particularly significant because it provided a forum for leaders from both countries to build on these successes. One of the key aspects of this year's summit was that it brought together high-level officials and business leaders from both nations to discuss ways to deepen their economic partnership. This included representatives from major American companies such as Amazon, Google, and Walmart who have invested heavily in India over the past few years. The summit also showcased the signing of several agreements worth billions of dollars between American companies and Indian organizations. These deals will help create jobs in both countries while also promoting innovation and cross-border collaboration. Another significant aspect of this year's summit was its focus on technology. With India becoming an increasingly important player in the global tech industry, there were several sessions dedicated to exploring how best to leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G networks for mutual benefit. Additionally, given how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted economies across the world, discussions at the summit also revolved around ways businesses can adapt to new realities created by pandemic related disruptions while creating jobs within ethical boundaries. Through its emphasis on strengthening the India-US economic ties via collaboration between government officials and private sector stakeholders; the USIBC’s India Ideas Summit served as an important platform where participants could exchange ideas about how best they can work towards continued growth opportunities amidst a rapidly changing global environment. Moreover, there were panel discussions featuring prominent business leaders from both nations who shared their insights on how best to navigate challenges related to doing business across borders. They discussed ways to strengthen supply chains and modernize infrastructure, which would lead to greater growth opportunities for businesses on either side. Through its focus on fostering economic ties between these two great nations by bringing together top industry leaders from each country, USIBC’s India Ideas Summit serves as an important forum for building relationships that are mutually beneficial for both sides.