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Ready for a lion’s step

Article - September 28, 2016

U.S.-India will be the defining partnership of the 21st century


The world’s largest democracy is strengthening ties with the world’s biggest economy to strengthen what is considered today, one of the most indispensable bilateral relationships.

A record number of two-sided visits between the nations from their top political figures have highlighted what appears to be a relationship of importance in years to come. President Barack Obama is the first U.S. President to visit India twice (2010 & 2015), and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to power in 2014, has visited the U.S. twice in one year.

The two nations see huge economic benefits from strengthened trade relations as growing India provides more opportunities for both countries to cash in. The blossoming relations have been industry led and focused on partnerships, as well as the Indian diaspora that has moved to the U.S.

“Henry Kissinger who had the foresight to say that the commercial relationship between India and US would lead the way. […] Indian companies have got a significant footprint in the US market. And both governments are noticing this,” says Country Director of the U.S-India Business Council, India Nivedita Mehra.

The rapidly increasing trade between the countries is a promising symbol of the future. Indian exports to the U.S. in 2010 increased from $29.5 billion to 45.2 billion in 2014. The jump in trade also coincides with a growing FDI which indicates both countries are hedging their bets on one another and as a result offer staggering employment opportunities, providing 840,000 jobs for Indians and 180,000 jobs in the U.S.

Set to be what has been coined “The Indian Century” the South Asian nation has been an economic anomaly in what has been a global slump. With a current GDP growth of approximately 7%, the home of Bollywood is set to harbor the right conditions to experience 30 years of sustained growth, which the U.S. simply cannot ignore.

The aim for Mr. Modi’s government at a landslide victory has proposed historical reforms; which if administered correctly will unleash the enormous potential to make it a global superpower. These attractive socio-economic campaigns are designed to stimulate India’s most vibrant economic sectors; With Make in India; Digital India; Clean India; Start-up India; Smart Cities & AMRUT the government is diversifying its support across varying sectors.

“If we take a look at how things are progressing in other countries around the world, India is definitely a bright spot and I believe that for the first time in thirty years, India counts with a strong and visionary leader,” states Baba Kalyani, CMD of Bharat Forge.

Although many factors indicate a positive future for India, there still remain enormous obstacles within. The country has been listed as the Word Bank’s “ease of doing business”, as 142 out of 189 economies. Corruption, weak consumer demand, and too few jobs on offer are providing barriers for the wider business community in India.

Despite these concerns, the US and India demonstrate cooperation in energy, defense, technology and climate change. Both countries have 80 plus initiatives and 30 dialogues groups operating to communicate the US-India relationship. These collaborations are testament to the robust nature between these nations.

“The numbers make sense and everyone knows that India is just too big to ignore. I believe it is above all about removing red tape and improving the business climate,” says Ms. Mehra.