‘US firms geared up to be part of India's vision to become $30 trillion economy’

India is embarked on a journey to restore itself to the top of the global leadership tables in terms of economy and prosperity, the head of an India-centric American business group has said, underlining that US companies are geared up to be part of the country’s ambitious vision to become a USD 30 trillion economy.

“I think it’s clear that India is going to grow in every decade of the 21st century. It’s gonna rise to be one of the biggest economies in the world, if not the biggest economy in the world,” Atul Keshap, the president of the US India Business Council (USIBC) told PTI.

“I’ve heard Indian officials talk about India potentially becoming a USD30 trillion economy,” he said.

A lot of American companies and members of the USIBC understand and appreciate that vision, Keshap said.

“India is embarked upon a journey to restore itself to the top of the global leadership tables in terms of economy and prosperity. India used to occupy as much as 25 per cent of the global GDP. I think that potential is there,” he said.

Keshap said that American companies are excited and geared up to be part of India’s ambitious journey.

“And I think that Americans want to see democracies succeed and they want to see democracies thrive,” he said. 

Ahead of the India Ideas Summit in New Delhi on September 6 and 7, Keshap, who is headed to India along with top board members of the USIBC and leadership of the US Chambers of Commerce,  said that he sees a very bright future for the US-India ties.

“Our engineers work together across time zones, they overcome geography to design the products and the services and the instruments that humanity is going to use to live a better and happier and healthier and more fulfilling life. So what’s happening in American and Indian companies are increasingly part of a shared high trust ecosystem,” he said.

It is important that America and India work well together to not only capture the full potential of India’s rise but to show the value of democracy to the entire world, he said.

“So building that high trust ecosystem is really important,” he said.

“Business community wants to show its support for that vision, and wants to show its support for the idea of India as a developed country in 2047, as the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) said, in the Independence Day speech the other day at Red Force,” he said.

India is already becoming a services superpower. There’s a huge digital economy trade between the United States and India. It’s over USD 100 billion a year but total trade between America and India is only about USD 150 billion a year, Keshap said.

“I have said repeatedly in public that we ought to hit USD 500 billion a year, India ought to be one of America’s top trading partners and we ought to be India’s top trading partner,” he said.

“How do we go about doing that?” he asked.

“Number one, we set really good standards, high-quality standards for the digital economy, which is going to grow and grow and grow. Number two, we work on things like life sciences and the well-being of an ageing world and also a young world,” Keshap said.

“India is frankly going to have both having that life sciences component where our companies working together in collaboration for research and innovation is going to be really vital,” he said.

Manufacturing, supply chain, and e-commerce are the areas where India is already growing and becoming very strong, Keshap said.

“Given geostrategic necessities and concerns, I think India has a huge opportunity if it plays its cards right to attract a lot of manufacturing,” he said.

“This is why I’ve talked about the ease of doing business, level playing field, very clear regulatory structures, tax regimes, etc, and speedy arbitration of any disputes that may come up,” he said.

“If India can work to create that software of investment, I think you’ll see a lot of investments flow into India. It will create a lot of high-quality jobs, benefit the entire world and help India achieve its goals. It is a very ambitious goal,” Keshap said.

India, he said, could be a real agricultural superpower if it works on instituting the right conditions for its producers and farmers.

“As we look at the USD 500 billion target, services are going to play a really important role. Manufacturing, supply chain, e-commerce is gonna have to play a big role in pharma and life sciences, defence and aerospace,” he said.

“From my perspective, as the president of a trade association, hundreds of executives across our 200 member companies see the potential value of India,” Keshap said.

“This is where I think, India has a shining moment to take advantage of global trends in the most beneficial way and what we’re offering is constructive feedback about the regulations and the ways that India can posture and position itself to capture the maximum advantage,” Keshap said.

Keeping this in mind, the focus for this year’s India Ideas Summit is on “Maximising the Next 75 Years of US–India Prosperity” – reflecting the milestone of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the US and India and the continued growth of bilateral partnership for global good.

During the two-day conference, the participants will discuss the US-India partnership in the context of the Indo-Pacific and an increasingly dynamic and competitive strategic landscape.

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