India is on the verge of “astounding” itself and the world as it is passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship and is experiencing a “growing vibrancy”, a top American diplomat has said.
“India is on the verge of astounding itself and the world. And the United States is ready to be a stakeholder and partner in that future,” Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H Rivkin said here yesterday.
Rivkin had recently led a high-powered US delegation that included representations from corporate sector to India on the American Innovation Roadshow to promote economic growth.
The road show was on four Indian cities New Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.
“I was so impressed by what I saw,” Rivkin said in his remarks to Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top American think-tank.
“In every incubator we visited, members of our delegation, especially the solar companies, identified tangible commercial and investment opportunities,” Rivkin said.
Special US Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the State Department Ziad Haider was also part of the delegation.
“In every meeting, I experienced in a very refreshing way exactly what binds our two countries together: a shared passion for innovation and entrepreneurship. In fact, Americans and Indian entrepreneurs have become part of a shared culture that reveres innovation,” Rivkin said.
“It’s critical that we continue to support these people-to-people ties between our countries, and this growing vibrancy, not only in the clean energy space but across all sectors,” Rivkin said adding that the Modi government has set a target to reach 175-gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022.
With 80 per cent of the required infrastructure yet to be built, this is a significant opportunity for American companies and research institutions to showcase innovative technological solutions to environmental challenges, Rivkin said.
Sharing his experience of meetings with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh as well as the Telangana Minister for Information Technology, Rivkin said that they were all eager for private investment.
Referring to the recent decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increasingly devolve federal funding to the States and encouraging them to actively compete with one another in a “race to the top” for foreign investment, Rivkin said this new dynamic was evident in their conversations with State leaders.
“They stressed their commitment to protecting intellectual property rights for investors and entrepreneurs. And they made it clear that they were eager to help steer India away from carbon fuels to a cleaner, sustainable future,” he said, adding that the stakes for these States were enormous.
Many of these States have populations that outnumber major countries and the large scale needs that go with that. They not only have the motivation, they have the autonomy to do something about it, Rivkin said.