US policy-makers, think tanks, Congressional leaders across the bi-partisan line and most significantly CEOs of the top Fortune 500 companies believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA Government can deliver and transform India into a modern nation with democratic values and America Inc would like to engage with this transformation, according to an assessment done by the ASSOCHAM’s newly-opened US office in New York.
“While the Obama Administration seems to be really hopeful of taking the US relationship to the next scale, such a thinking is feeding into America Inc with top of the line CEOs making definitive opinion about the execution capabilities of the Modi-led government,” the ASSOCHAM Strategic Paper- Imperatives of Modi Visit, noted. The Paper was done in the US based on the previews of the Prime Minister Modi’s engagements with the top American leaders besides President Barack Obama.
Underlining the importance of the Indo-US relationship, ASSOCHAM President Rana Kapoor said, “India’s new leadership is gaining respect among major powers of the world both in the neighbourhood and far-off. The kind of enthusiasm and expectations seen inside the US about Modi’s visit is rarely seen,” as pointed out by the chamber’s paper.
He said the chamber had done a similar exercise among the leaders of the corporates in India where also an overwhelming majority of them expected a big success from the Prime Minister’s week–long visit to the US both at the bilateral level with the US as also in his multi-lateral engagement at the UN General Assembly.
The ASSOCHAM paper in the US noted something very striking. While the Indo-US trade and investment ties have several knotty issues for resolution, what the policy-makers and Fortune 500 CEOs want is active engagement with India’s transformation, which they see as begun already.
“Yes, there are issues like bilateral investment treaty, intellectual property rights, wanting India to open its retail sector for the foreign direct investment and India’s tough position in the WTO talks on the issue of farmers’ security vis-à-vis the trade facilitation, the American corporations see big opportunity in the Indian economy ready to tread fast once again,” the paper based on the wide feedback said.
Among the specific traits of India’s leadership quality, Modi’s approach of getting to the basic issues and engaging with even the most difficult issues with open mind is being talked about among the influential Americans whom the ASSOCHAM research team interacted with in New York, Washington and established contacts in the Silicon Valley. A strong position of the BJP in Parliament is also seen as a big positive.
“While there is some amount of restlessness, the America Inc and others are willing to give good amount of time to the Modi Government since there an appreciation that India cannot be expected to function like China as the democratic values require debates among stakeholders. Besides, there is a federal structure which requires continuous engagement with states some of whom have very powerful political leaders like in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal”.
The possible areas for new and scaled up cooperation have been listed as defence with increase in the FDI limit to 49 percent and well-integrated development of infrastructure. Education is also a key area of cooperation where the US would like India to liberalise its policies. Then, in the strategic relationship, some of the Congressional leaders would like the US to get more close to India so that the India-US engagement can be effective in the Asia-Pacific with special reference to China and the troubled Middle East.