U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma today thanked Honeywell for choosing India as the site for its global launch.
Addressing a gathering at the Taj Mahal Hotel here, he also praised the company for its continued vision and leadership in technology, and added that he was particularly impressed with the roll-out of its smart building score tool, which was critically needed across India, besides the rest of the world.
Ambassador Verma also praised other American companies involved in the process of helping to create smart buildings and smart cities, and for sharing their innovations and discoveries and working with our Indian counterparts.
He also thanked Dave Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, who has served as the co-chair of our US/India CEO Forum, for his highly effective and tireless leadership role in using this critical group to advance the India-U.S. commercial relationship.
Ambassador Verma said, “There is still so much excitement in the U.S.- India relationship in all sectors of our government and private industry, nearly six months after President Obama was here, and some ten months after PM Modi traveled to Washington.”
He said that his report to his colleagues in Washington was upbeat and optimistic based on the facts on the ground, not simply based on the deep reservoir of “good will between us.”
“We are, for example, working on over 80 initiatives coming out of the January POTUS visit; we have reached USD 103 billion in two-way trade; we’ve secured new deals in defense and energy; and we are working hard on a bilateral investment treaty; we will have the first ever Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between our two countries early this fall; and increasingly Indian companies are helping to power America’s growth, through new investments and innovations. That’s why I’m optimistic,” he said.
However, he said, he was also clear-eyed about the challenges that lay in front of both nations in terms of regional security, climate change, ensuring inclusive economic growth and helping to finance India’s massive infrastructure needs, besides mass urbanization challenges confronting India.
“The fact is India will be one of the world’s leaders in the growth of its cities in the coming years – at a scale and pace that few have witnessed before. This is why the Prime Minister’s Smart Cities initiative is so important – so India’s urban centers can be safer, cleaner, more efficient, digitized, with modern and reliable services for those who live there. I’m proud of the role that the US has played in the Smart Cities initiative. We are the leading partner in helping to develop three cities in particular: Vizag, Ajmer and Allahabad. Representatives from the Commerce Department, State, USAID, the U.S. Trade Development Agency and the Department of Energy have been involved in multiple efforts with all three cities,” he said.
“We are also using our convening power to enlist the support of U.S. government finance agencies such as EXIM and OPIC, and also partnering with major Indian business associations such as CII and FICCI in order to make these projects more accessible for U.S. firms. CII helped organize the first major US industry engagement in Vizag in April and FICCI organized a similar event in Ajmer at the end of May,” he added.
“We have also established with our Indian counterparts an “Infrastructure Collaboration Platform” which facilitates private sector participation in Indian infrastructure projects. And, U.S. industry, through the American Chamber of Commerce in India and the U.S.-India Business Council, has formed a consortium of over 25 companies to market specific capabilities that support key components of smart city projects: Energy, especially renewables and smart grid technologies; water and sanitation; safety and security; transportation; healthcare,” Ambassador Verma said.
According to Honeywell’s research, people spend 80-90 percent of their lives in buildings, making buildings an integral part of their ecosystem. Experts estimate that buildings consume about 40 percent of global energy, 25 percent of global water and emit approximately one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. People are now demanding that their living spaces and buildings in particular be more environmentally sustainable, greener and less impactful on the environment.