File Photo U.S. President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan SinghThe U.S. President George W Bush is arriving India on March 1st. the Indian government is doing history security for Bush visit. Indian is expected to sign more than a dozen agreements during the March 1-4 with US, when the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Bush meet. We don’t know what agreements are we going sign. We can see some agreements which India expect from US.
Is a breakthrough deal between India and the US in the aviation sector on the cards during George Bush’s visit? Circles close to chambers of commerce involved in Indo-American economic ties are abuzz with a deal that may pave the way for the domination of Boeing in Indian skies. There is an advantage that we see developing with new airlines coming in and existing airlines on an expansion spree. We would like Boeing to have the competitive advantage. The framework of the deal is expected to give Boeing that extra push. Having bagged a $11 billion deal for 68 aircraft from Air-India, Boeing already has the edge but would not mind some patronage from President Bush. About 80 of India’s 180 commercial aircraft are Boeing.
As the American delegation comes visiting, India Inc. has high expectations. However, unlike the Clinton visit in 2000, Bush’s agenda has been kept a zealously guarded secret. The embassy has not even responded to our requests for time with the president. However, what is certain is the US-India CEOs Forum on March 2.
Coinciding with the Bush visit, the US India Business Council, representing over 130 US companies with trade and investment interests in India, will also launch a mission with CEOs and senior industry leaders. There is a lot at stake with Indian exports to the US expected to rise by 18 to 20 per cent this year to reach $14 billion. The US exports to India are also slated to increase by 20 per cent to over $6 billion. Both countries are hoping to enhance their bilateral trade to $40 billion in three years," said a FICCI source.
Economic advisers said, India should push for a free trade agreement with the US, which would include FDI and services, as it would greatly benefit our domestic economy. India should urgently liberalize FDI across sectors and undertake steps to lower import tariffs, particularly on agricultural goods. Bush is expected to visit the Knowledge Park in Hyderabad on March 3 and address the Agriculture University. In fact, officials, experts and private entrepreneurs in India and the US are giving shape to the proposed joint Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture before Bush’s visit. It will facilitate collaboration in promoting agriculture research, education and commercial links.
The Indian retail industry is expected to grow to $300 billion in the next five years from the current $200 billion, and if India has to grow at 10 per cent per annum, it needs FDI. But there is general fear over FDI in retail. Wal-Mart International CEO and President John B. Menzer have already paid quiet visits to Westside and Metro outlets in Bangalore to get a feel of Indian retail. Wal-Mart, despite having grown bigger in terms of revenue to $288 billion, regrets having missed the bus when India was open to foreign investment in retail in the mid-1990s. Union Commerce Minister, who has been spearheading the FDI drive, is at pains to allay fears over employment loss with FDI in retail. We will examine all possibilitiesokto modernise retail but no new set-up should displace the existing one.
Health care would be the next big initiative that would further strengthen US-India relations. We are in a new age of US-India co-operation in health care. India can help the US in supplying low-cost high-quality health care, which would help the US save more than $300 billion in the next 10 years. Last December saw a number of global business leaders like Bill Gates announcing $1.7 billion investment in India over the next four years. However, it is the formation of the High Technology Cooperation Group dialogue on nanotechnology and biotechnology, and defence technology that has really taken the Indo-American ties to new heights.
Foreign Secretary said India and the US were currently exploring areas of cooperation in technology transfer, co-production, joint development and collaborative research. Indian skills and comparative costs can make themselves felt in defence applications of high technology as well, and become active participants in the global supply chains of major defence vendors. Bush’s visit is also expected to facilitate cooperation for setting up legal and regulatory structures for biological material transfer and formulation of guidelines for conducting clinical trials. India is poised to be the hub of global vaccine and clinical trials. The potential areas of cooperation in nanotechnology are development of metrology and appropriate nomenclature to enable further international development. India, has created an enabling structure for high-technology commerce to expand. With the Bush visit, the focus should now be on promotion and outreach.
What the Left Party says about Bush visit India… (Continue)