Ambassador Meera Shankar and Under Secretary of State, Ropbert Hormats addressed the Business Software Alliance (BSA) on 30th November 2010 on the topic Emerging Trends in India-U.S. Economic Engagement. Thanking Mr. Robert Holleyman, President and CEO of BSA, she said that in recent years India-U.S. ties have evolved into a strategic partnership. The President of the United States of America undertook a landmark visit to India from 6-9 November 2010. During the visit, building on the successes in our relationship, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Obama reaffirmed that the India-U.S. strategic partnership is indispensible not only for their two countries but also for global stability and prosperity in the 21st century.
She said that a key factor in the growing India-U.S. trade and commercial engagement is the changing face of India and its economy. India’s growth story; its ability to withstand the global economic downturn in the last couple of years; its paradigm of domestically driven growth and our desire and effort to develop India as an innovation hub have all contributed to constructive India-U.S. economic engagement. She said that the Indian economy had regained momentum and was poised to grow at 8.5% in 2010 and 9% next year. Growth in the first half of this fiscal year had exceeded projections at 8.9%. She spoke about the growing momentum in bilateral trade, including trade in services which was broadly balanced. Indian direct investments in the U.S. were growing rapidly. During President Obama’s visit, US companies had booked export orders worth US$ 10 billion contributing to over 50,000 jobs in the U.S. It was clear that enhanced trade and commercial interaction had, in fact, brought mutual gains.
She underlined that Innovation was a key theme during the visit of President Obama to India and there were many business opportunities for companies from the two countries to partner in the technology and innovation sectors.
She remarked that the Indian IT industry has been the face of India’s strength in the knowledge economy. India’s global software and services exports touched US$ 50 billion during 2009-2010; and its revenues during the same period were close to US$ 73 billion. In addition to adding value to the economy it has also played a major role in employment generation, especially in the urban areas, and service delivery to rural areas. India is confident that the IT Industry in India would remain a leader in shaping business responses to the emerging global trends in this area.
Ambassador Shankar said that in the field of Cyber Security, which is linked to IT, both the governments are now engaged. The International Observer Program of the U.S Cyber Storm III national cyber incident response exercise included representatives from India for the first time. Experts of the two countries are also exploring how they can work together to develop recommendations for norms of behaviour and confidence building measures in cyberspace.
She also touched upon opportunities in other high technology areas like biotechnology, renewable energy, Health Care, and Nuclear Energy and said that it is a reflection of India’s unique strengths in the knowledge economy that a large number of US companies now conduct their advanced Research and Development in India.
She informed the audience robust Intellectual Property Regime in India and that the Indian Government is taking steps to further strengthen this in ways which would promote innovation while taking care of India's development needs. Recently a bill has been introduced in the Parliament to amend and further strengthen the Indian Copyright Act and provide protection to digital products, which would bring the Indian act in conformity with the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)