India has close strategic partnership with the US and the bilateral ties have made an "unparalleled progress" in the last few years with collaboration in areas like counter-terrorism, defence and energy, India's envoy to Washington has said.
India has close strategic partnership with the US and the bilateral ties have made an “unparalleled progress” in the last few years with collaboration in areas like counter-terrorism, defence and energy, India’s envoy to Washington has said. Indian Ambassador to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla recently visited Texas, one of the largest American states with a GDP of USD 1.6 trillion.
The state has a significant concentration of Indian-Americans. Texas is an important state as 10 per cent of the total India–US trade is from oil-rich Texas. He said that India is set to emerge as a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years and USD 10 trillion economy in the next 10 years. India’s success relies in ensuring that there is a greater interest and involvement of American industries and businesses in the country, he said. “We have close strategic partnership, close synergy on issues of security, counter terrorism, defence, but the underpinnings of the relationship are based on business and that’s where you come in,” he said.
Addressing representatives from major Indian companies and the local media in Texas, Shringla said that the progress made by India and the US in the last few years has been unparalleled. “The energy sector is an important area where we have increased our collaboration and also increased our off take from the US,” he said. “We have placed orders for nearly 300 civilian aircraft amounting to USD 39 billion,” he said.
“Also, India has introduced new items such as poultry to the list of imports from the US. Defence is a new equation. Fifteen years ago, India had no defence ties (with the US) and today we are importing defence equipments worth USD 18 billion.” “What amazes me is that in the last few years, the amount of progress that our relationship has made is unparalleled in many senses,” Shringla said. He said that the United States is India’s largest trading partner. “We are looking at technology at different levels that will help us leapfrog the processes in India like NITI Aayog. India’s USD 1.5 trillion infrastructure development would need foreign direct investments. The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is getting support from Japan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Singapore,” Shringla said.
He said India is set to emerge as a USD 5 trillion economy in the next five years and USD 10 trillion economy in the next 10 years. Knowing it to be an ambitious target, Shringla said India needs investment. “Our success really lies in ensuring that there is a greater interest and involvement of US industries and businesses in India in line with our own priorities in terms of development of India,” Shringla said. Bilateral trade between India and the US has reached USD 142 billion last year. “We are buying more American goods consciously. This year we want to take it up to USD 5.5 billion.”
Shringla’s visit to Texas is a part of his touring schedule for the last four months, visit various Indian Consulates in the US and meeting with representatives of the US companies that are investing in India. “In the last five years it (India) has emerged from being 11th largest world economy to the seventh largest. And this year, it will become the fifth largest economy of the world. “We are trying to become fifth largest this year. India is the fastest growing economy contributing to 17 per cent of the global growth, especially at the time when the world seems to heading towards either stagnation or recession,” he pointed out. “We would like to see Indian companies not only come together to pool and synergise their requirements substantively but also look at yourselves as a brand.”
“In general terms, the economic and commercial aspects of our partnership are perhaps the most import element in the India–US relationship. Of course, the relationship has attained tremendous momentum because of the initiative of the leadership,” he said refereeing to the close contact between the two leaders Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump. Shringla said the US was a major partner in India’s efforts to develop its economy. “The good thing for us is that it is not a one way street,” Shringla pointed out as Indian companies are also investing in the United States.
During his visit to Texas, Shringla met Governor of Texas Greg Abbott, Texas Land Commissioner (member of Texas cabinet) George P Bush and Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner. In these meetings, Ambassador Shringla discussed progress in developing outcomes of the recent visits to India by both Governor of Texas and Mayor of Houston. He also invited them and Commissioner Bush to visit India again.