Washington, July 13 (IANS) Indian and US business and government leaders have reviewed how they can together further enhance US-India economic engagement, including an expansion in opportunities for private sectors in trade, investment, and innovation.
While there was no word on the specific recommendations made by the US-India CEO Forum at its meeting here Friday, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters "There was lot of positivity in our exchange."
"Both sides are taking steps to ensure that this partnership not only remains robust, but is also consolidated," said Sharma, who attended the meeting along with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh.
Deputy National Security Advisor Caroline Atkinson, Trade Representative Michael Froman, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and Under Secretary for Economics, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs Robert D. Hormats represented the US side.
CEO co-chairs Ratan Tata of Tata Group and David Cote of Honeywell led CEOs from seven US and six Indian companies for a five hour long session of the US-India CEO Forum at the State Department.
US-India bilateral trade is nearing $100 billion, and the CEO Forum "reviewed our very robust public-private cooperation in support of that and how we can further enhance US-India economic engagement, including how our governments can expand opportunities for our private sectors in trade, investment, and innovation," State Deparment spokesperson Jen Psaki, told reporters.
"The participants also enjoyed very productive conversations anew as well as ongoing collaborations on water and energy efficiency, agricultural technology, aviation, security, health, and more, underscoring the true depth and breadth of the US-India partnership," she said.
The US-India CEO Forum is a key element in the broad US-India economic engagement following up on their conversations at the June 24th Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi, Psaki said.
"Obviously the fact that the US-India CEO Forum happened today, that there were robust conversations about the trade relationship, the importance of that, and continuing to expand on it speaks to how much we value the India partnership," she said in response to a question.
Earlier opening the forum meeting, Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns asked it to focus on four key areas of FDI, defence trade, nuclear power and people as they work out ways to boost India-US business relationship.
"The full participation of the private sector is indispensible to a sustainable long-term partnership," he said.
"That's why this Forum is so important," Burns said suggesting "a number of specific areas where I believe we can achieve near-term progress and deliver a solid return on the investment in our relationship."
"Launched in July 2005, the forum is mandated to develop a road map for increased partnership and cooperation between the two countries at a business level.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)