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US Secretary of State, Commerce Secretary to address this year's 'India Ideas Summit'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and several top members of the Biden administration will join powerful Congressional leadership and top corporate players from India and the US at this year's 'India Ideas Summit' next week.

The theme for this year's two-day summit beginning on June 12 is "Trust, Resilience, and Growth" and will focus on how these three organising principles underpin the US-India economic partnership across sectors.

The annual summit of the US India Business Council (USIBC), which is part of the US Chambers of Commerce, gains significance this year as it comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first state visit to the US which starts on June 21.

"On Monday, June 12th, we're gonna have the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, come and speak to our group. We are also gonna have a session with Deputy Secretary of State Rich Verma. We are looking to see how we can lift the ambitions of the United States and India for even greater realisation of happiness and prosperity between our two free peoples," USIBC president Atul Keshap told PTI in an interview on Thursday.

"So, it's gonna be great to hear from the top leadership of the State Department. That's gonna be on Monday. We're also gonna have a congressional component. We have a board dinner," he said.

On Tuesday, the Ideas Summit would be addressed by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, along with Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk, and Amos Hochstein, the president's advisor on energy issues.

Lindsey Ford, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Dr. Vivek Lall, chief executive of General Atomics Global Corporation and many others would talk about ways to ensure shared prosperity between the US and India.

India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu would offer his perspectives from the government of India about ways to take the relationship forward. Keshap said Indian and American companies who are members of USIBC are the world leaders in terms of technology capability and managerial skill.

"They take care of their employees. They take care of their communities. They are very respectful about how they inter interact with the people who host them in their various places in America and in India. They help uplift the communities.

"There are so many good stories about USIBC companies that are investing in people, in the United States and India, and we wanna showcase that," he said.

"Beyond merely that activity, we wanna talk about how our companies are increasing choice and increasing quality of life and opportunity for people in both of our countries," he said.

There is a historic moment underway now, he said. "India's rise to global prominence is accelerating. India went from being the fifth largest economy in the world to hurtling as fast as possible towards being the third largest economy on the planet.

"All of our member companies hope for India to be a USD 30 trillion economy in our lifetimes. That's gonna be good for hundreds of millions of Indian people, and frankly, good for America and good for the planet," he said.

The theme of this summit is to capture that opportunity to the greatest extent possible so that Indians themselves can capture the most potential in their lives and live happy, prosperous and peaceful lives, he said.

Keshap said that India's economic growth is deeply impressive.

"GDP is to a great extent, the marker by which we gauge the power and influence of nations and India's GDP is rising at really impressive rates. So, reasonable projections by very legitimate institutions, estimate that India will be a five and 10 and 20 trillion economy in a space of time that is really incredible to consider. You know, by 2047, India could stand transformed in world affairs. So that's incredibly good," he said.

Noting that India is a very sober and stable voice in international relations, Keshap said the country is a global net provider of security through UN peacekeeping, and through its efforts to keep the sea lanes open in the Indian and Pacific oceans. "It is a donor country to countries that need a lot of help, and has helped greatly, even in its own neighbourhood like with Afghanistan over the years and with Sri Lanka," he said.

India is a constructive power and a country with whom Americans feel a great deal of affinity, he said.

The Americans feel that India is stable and peaceful, and it contributes to the peace and well-being of the world, Keshap said.

India is also a democracy. It is a democracy like ours. We see ourselves in India. It is a deeply layered, complex, sometimes messy democracy, but that's the genius of democracy. So, there's a lot of affinity between Indians and Americans.

"That affinity is now being expanded through the QUAD and through our global security partnership to ensure the peace and security and tranquillity and happiness of people everywhere," Keshap said.

"India's rise is very impressive. It is very positive. I think that our two governments are engaging in more and more dialogues about all of the areas where they can work together," he said.

Keshap said all the CEOs who visited India recently and met with Prime Minister Modi have committed to making major investments in the country.

"That is a recognition that India's macroeconomic policy situation is getting better and better. There are a lot of economic innovations by the government of India that are capturing the interest of the global investment community.

India has put a lot of homework, thought and effort into attracting certain sectors, like the electronics manufacturing sector, FinTech sector and digital economy sector, he said, adding that those are real growth engines of the Indian economy.

"India can outcompete other countries that are playing the same game of trying to attract dollars, including the US. India will be a very attractive partner. It has incredible demographics. It has the largest, quantity of skilled professionals in the world.

"I think our companies respect and admire that. So, this is really India's game to lose, and it depends on the ease of doing business level, playing field and predictable and stable regulatory environment," Keshap said.


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