India is prepared to respond to legitimate concerns of the US businesses, new Ambassador to the US S Jaishankar has assured Corporate America, which has been one of the strong supporters of India-US ties, but has expressed its disillusionment over certain Indian policies.
"As we work our way each one of us out of a difficult economic situation, it is important that we appreciate each other's interest. I can assure you that my country values its reputation as being open to international business. The record shows that we are prepared to respond to legitimate concerns," he said yesterday.
"Equally, we expect our issues of high skilled visas, market access, and totalization to be given a fair hearing. In the present climate, what we need above all is sensible and constructive interactions as much between the government as between our businesses," Jaishankar said at a reception hosted in his honour by the US India Business Council (USIBC).
"What we certainly do not need is public acrimony or mis-representation of policies. As Ambassador, I am here to advance our interest, but to do so in a fair manner that takes yours into account in equal measure," he said, adding that India has stakes in a strong US economic recovery.
"We contribute to job creation here through imports, through our investments and by enhancing the competitiveness of American companies," he said, adding that American business have been the staunchest supporters of India-US relationship.
"As our ties grow, it is vital that their commitment to it remain strong," he said.
Earlier in an interaction with USIBC members, top American CEOs raised issues of concerns to them including tax treatment of investments in India and the protection of intellectual property (IP). He made clear that he wants to have an open and candid discussion on the subject of IP.
Industry captains also discussed the need for improvements to infrastructure and increased investment in defense and energy. The executives advocated for the lifting of FDI caps in important sectors like insurance and defense, and for adjustment of the retail policy to attract major investment and organized players into India.
The group raised the need to work together towards a step-by-step immigration reform bill in the US Congress that allows choice, promotes American competiveness, and enhances free market opportunity.
In an apparent reference to the recent diplomat row, the USIBC Chairman and MasterCard President & CEO Ajay Banga described his Washington arrival as baptism by fire.
"The Ambassador affirmed the strong ties between India and the United States and the importance of the commercial relationship. The potential to reach USD 500 billion in two-way trade by 2020 is an achievable goal if we work together in partnership in an environment that provides predictability, consistency, and transparency," he said.
USIBC president Ron Somers said Jaishankar has shown that he values the US-India business relationship as pivotal to driving the overall partnership forward.