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Ahead of Modiís visit, US official meets industry body FICCI

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New Delhi (Sept 13, 2014): Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit, America’s Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Caroline Atkinson met representatives from industry body FICCI to strengthen ties.

FICCI president Sidharth Birla, its past president Harsh Pati Singhania, former Indian ambassador to the US Lalit Man Singh and ex foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal were present at the meeting that took place last evening, Ficci said.

Atkinson, who is on a short official visit to India to prepare the ground for constructive talks, said that US and India are natural partners as the two leading democracies and it is imperative that they eventually scale up their economic engagement to a new level.

Modi and US President Barrack Obama are expected to meet in Washington later this month.

With regard to Modi government’s focus on development of infrastructure and skills, energy security and promotion of manufacturing sector, Atkinson felt the US was all set to partner India as these are the focus areas for Obama administration as well.

“Therefore, there is scope for mutual learning and exchange,” she said.

Meanwhile, Birla said there is optimism in the Indian industry about the visit of Prime Minister Modi, which closely follows Japan and China interactions.

“US and Indian business have been natural allies and we all realize it was not lack of potential in India that resulted in weak investment interest from the US, but collateral factors. We fully expect these to be resolved soon.

“For India to garner investments both from home and abroad, we have to transition from ‘inviting’ investment to ’welcoming’ it. Indian industry is hoping that PM Modi can open up a new chapter for India—US relations and give a new direction to revitalize India—US commercial ties,” Birla said.

The Indian participants in the meeting acknowledged that there was an urgent need for improvements and reforms in taxation and labour laws to scale up the level of business and get American businesses to invest in India.

Both the sides were optimistic that the new government in India will push ahead the reforms.

Co-founder and past Chairman of NASSCOM Saurabh Srivastava raised the issue of discrimination being faced by the Indian IT sector in doing business with the US due to the stringent norms set by the Immigration Bill in and hoped that some solution would come out from the upcoming Modi visit.