Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to the United States and India’s Economic Outlook

WRITTEN BY

Dr. Mukesh Aghi

Dr. Mukesh Aghi

President and CEO

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This month, to mark two years of the Forum’s inception, our teams from Washington, D.C, New York, California, and New Delhi came together for a full team off-site in Jaipur. Our two-day long brainstorming sessions produced ideas to realign our mission and vision and providing better and higher value to our membership. In our next monthly update, I look forward to sharing our vision for the next 3-5 years as articulated by the team.

U.S.-India relations have witnessed some intense engagements at the highest levels last month both on the geo-political and economic front. Prime Minister Modi and President Trump first spoke on the phone and then met for bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France last week. Both leaders spoke about the evolving political situation in Kashmir, how the two nations can strengthen economic ties, and other regional developments in the Indo-Pacific. While peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific is a priority of the United States’ strategic involvement in the region, Prime Minister Modi reiterated that the Kashmir issue will be resolved through bilateral discussions with Pakistan without any external intervention. India’s growing status as an importer of U.S. energy with $4 billion worth of imports in the pipeline makes the U.S.-India energy corridor one of the strongest pillars of bilateral cooperation.

For now, all eyes are on Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming trip to the United States from Sept 21 – 26. The trip starts in Houston, where he will address one of the largest gatherings of Indian-Americans (estimated 55,000) at the Howdy, Modi meeting and will have a sit down meeting with 50-100 elected officials. This will be followed by a lunch with 800 selected friends of the US-India partnership . Prime Minister Modi is also keen on exploring opportunities for Indian companies to invest in the US energy market and therefore, his itinerary includes a CEO roundtable with top global energy companies. USISPF is engaging on both these events to bring in high-level industry participation.

Prime Minister arrives in New York on the evening of September 22 and will spend most of his time in bilateral meetings with other leaders. As of now, his business interaction is limited to 2 engagements– speaking at Bloomberg conference and a CEO roundtable. USISPF is supporting the CEO roundtable and has provided recommendations to the Indian Ambassador.

On the economic front, India’s GDP numbers were disappointing— pegging growth at 5%, and the lowest in the last 6 years. The release of numbers required Finance Minister Sitharaman to announce a package of economic reforms to boost growth, investment, infuse fresh credit into the economy. Some of the noteworthy items included FDI reforms in single brand retail, manufacturing, coal, and digital media, tax, exempting start-ups from “angel tax”, roll back of super rich tax on foreign and domestic equity investors, among others. Hi-tech manufacturers such as Apple are planning on extensive retail plans in India. As U.S.-China trade wars continue to intensify, India could become a likely manufacturing destination for many global companies should it create the right business environment and stay away from protectionism. Given the significance of the high-tech industry sectors in the global market and India’s vast potential in the sector to attract investments and create jobs, USISPF members have conducted a study to examine the factors impacting India’s competitiveness for companies planning to setup manufacturing operations in the country, and how these challenges can be addressed to make India a dynamic player in the global value chain. We presented these recommendations to Minister of Commerce, Shri Piyush Goyal and Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri in New Delhi.