Turning the spotlight on bilateral economic ties, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a slew of initiatives on Monday that included $4 billion in loans from U.S. banks, $2 billion in financing for renewable energy projects in India and $1 billion from the Exim Bank of the U.S. for project financing.
Executive action to help Indian techies who currently have to undergo a painful and agonising process of obtaining H-1B visas, to get legal permanent status (LPR), was also on the cards, Mr. Obama indicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told visiting U.S. reporters.
Addressing the Summit attended by 500 business leaders from the two countries, Mr. Modi assured U.S. investors of a transparent and predictable business environment and tax regime, protection for their intellectual property and a commitment that he would personally monitor progress of large projects.
“My visit to India is one of great symbolism but it is also of tremendous substance,” Mr. Obama said.
He said that India and the U.S. were moving in the right direction and there was untapped potential to be realised. Bilateral trade between the two countries had increased 60 per cent in the past couple of years to a record $100 billion, but India’s exports to the U.S. were still less than 2 per cent of all American imports, he said welcoming the Modi government’s reforms agenda for making it easier to do business in India.
“There is great interest on the part of U.S. companies to find consistency, clarity, greater simplicity in regulatory and tax environment in India … If that occurs, I think we are going to see lot more business in India … That is consistent with many of the reforms Prime Minister Modi has articulated,” Mr. Obama said.
He, however, said the “absence of an effective IP protection” in India was affecting business as U.S. companies tend to operate at the higher ends of the global value chain.
Addressing apprehensions being raised about his “Make in India” initiative being protectionist or anti-trade, Mr. Modi said the plan was to improve the ease of doing business in India so as to enable the creation of jobs.
- › DAY 1: JANUARY 25, 2015
- › Arrival in the morning and Rashtrapathi Bhavan Ceremonial
- › Rashtrapathi Bhavan Ceremonial
- › Homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat
- › Bilateral discussions with PM Narendra Modi, followed by a luncheon
- › Meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee
- › Banquet hosted by the President
- › DAY 2: JANUARY 26, 2015:
- › Republic Day function and Rashtrapathi Bhavan Ceremonial
- › 'At home' with Pranab Mukherjeeand a round table with CEOs
- › DAY 3: JANUARY 27, 2015:
- › To address a select gathering
- › Leaves for Saudi Arabia