US corporate sector upbeat about India ahead of PM Modi’s visit

Washington: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State Visit to the US, American corporate sector leaders have said they are upbeat and excited about India and want to see a deepening of technological convergence between the two countries in industries like semiconductors, defence, cybersecurity and telecoms.

On Tuesday, the US India Business Council (USIBC) hosted its annual India Ideas Summit, which was the largest gathering of Indian and American CEOs, before the next week’s State Visit, which was probably the only topic being discussed at the meeting.

Modi has been invited by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for an official State Visit, which will include a State Dinner on June 22.

“The mood was great… Very positive mood. Everyone is happy about the State Visit coming up. …. Everybody wants to see our technological convergence deepen on things like semiconductors, defence as well, cybersecurity, telecoms, 5G, and 6G. There are so many areas of convergence in deep tech and future tech, everyone wants to see more work on that,” Atul Keshap, president of the USIBC told PTI in an interview.

“They want to see deal flow between the two countries. We want to see the quantum of trade expand as rapidly as possible to USD 500 billion,” he said.

“I’d like to see more defence deals. Defence deals are really important for deterrence. When we host Indus X here next week, we’re gonna try to see how that startup incubator of ideas and convergence can have even more impact on the US-India relations,” Keshap said.

Vivek Lall, chief executive at General Atomics Global Corporation said the mood is very upbeat.

“It’s going to be a watershed event when the Prime Minister arrives here in Washington, DC next week. I think the business community and certainly the government community is very keenly looking forward to the visit; very keenly looking forward to how there can be a step function in various areas of cooperation,” he told PTI on the sidelines of the summit.

This, he said, will then set the tone and the pace of this relationship for decades to come. The Official State Visit is of, uh, huge significance and importance, he added. All the sectors in particular, the business community that’s present here are looking forward to great outcomes from the bilateral meetings, he noted.

In critical and emerging technologies, there are a lot of synergies not only among big corporations but also with startups.

“We do feel that the areas, whether they’re quantum, artificial intelligence, defence innovation, they’re all areas of huge potential between both countries. That shows the seed for future development and progress,” Lall said.

B J Arun, TiE Global Board of Trustees, said there’s a lot of excitement about the visit.

“We are extremely excited and very bullish about what has happened (in India). Because he (prime minister) is so business friendly. Even in the past we’ve had political leaders come, but we’ve never followed through, we have never actually seen it result in policy changes,” he said.

“This is the first time we have seen over the last nine years that somebody has actually worked on it and actually gone ahead and implemented policy based on what needs to be done, and that is now generating results. We are seeing the fruits of the policies that have been put in place,” Arun said.