US IT firm ATCS expands, hires in India

Jul 11, 2017 0

New Delhi–At a time when layoffs in the IT industry are dominating headlines, US-based IT solutions company Advanced Technology Consulting Service (ATCS) has announced it is expanding its operations in India by recruiting new staff and setting up its first Innovation Lab (I-Lab) in Jaipur.

Apart from Jaipur, ATCS has also opened a new office in Bengaluru.

“The I-Lab not only serves as a functional space for approaching ideas and concepts in an alternative setting but also embeds a spirit in our team that ATCS is expected to think differently, creating solutions beyond one’s peripheral views,” said Jason Castellani, partner at ATCS, in a statement on Tuesday.

Jason Castellani

New Jersey-based ATCS also has offices in China, Germany and Canada. It provides strategic guidance to and implements software solutions for several Fortune 500 companies.

“As an agile, innovative company, we give immense importance to solution creation for our customers. Now we have developed a space for our staff, which can stimulate creative thinking among them,” said Manish Krishnan, Global CEO, ATCS.

According to the company, the I-Lab would soon put Jaipur at par with IT hubs of the country and serve as a functional space for approaching ideas and concepts in an alternative setting.

“For our customers, innovation is a big drive. Having such a lab in our India office helps us in delivering more inventive ideas to our clients,” Krishnan added.

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India, US to review trade relations to increase market access

Jun 27, 2017 0

Washington– The United States and India plan to undertake a comprehensive review of trade relations to expedite regulatory processes and increase market access in areas such as agriculture, information technology, and manufactured goods and services, according to a joint statement.

The joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump said that the two leaders committed that the US and India should intensify their economic cooperation to make their nations stronger and their citizens more prosperous.

The two leaders noted that extensive economic and tax reforms launched in their respective countries will unlock immense economic opportunities for both countries.

They expressed commitment to further expand and balance the trade relationship and remove obstacles to growth and jobs creation.

They also resolved to pursue increased commercial engagement in a manner that advances the principles of free and fair trade.

“To this end, the United States and India plan to undertake a comprehensive review of trade relations with the goal of expediting regulatory processes; ensuring that technology and innovation are appropriately fostered, valued, and protected; and increasing market access in areas such as agriculture, information technology, and manufactured goods and services,” the statement said.

Trump and Modi expressed commitment to strengthening cooperation to address excess capacity in industrial sectors and called on their teams to find creative ways to improve bilateral trade.

The leaders affirmed the continued importance of their Strategic Energy Partnership and of leveraging new opportunities to elevate cooperation to enhance global energy security.

The leaders called for a rational approach that balances environment and climate policy, global economic development, and energy security needs.

Trump affirmed that the United States continues to remove barriers to energy development and investment in the United States and to US energy exports so that more natural gas, clean coal, and renewable resources and technologies are available to fuel India’s economic growth.

“Prime Minister Modi and President Trump looked forward to conclusion of contractual agreements between Westinghouse Electric Company and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India for six nuclear reactors in India and also related project financing,” the statement said.

Both leaders welcomed efforts towards expanding energy and innovation linkages across the energy sector and deepen cooperation, including on more efficient fossil fuel technologies, smart grids, and energy storage.

“They supported financing of energy projects, including clean coal projects, by Multilateral Development Banks to promote universal access to affordable and reliable energy,” it said.

The leaders also agreed to strengthen their cooperation to address the growing threats and challenges from malicious cyber activity.

Trump welcomed India’s formal entry into the International Expedited Traveler Initiative (Global Entry program) in order to facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the United States.

The statement said that Trump “gladly accepted” Modi’s invitation to visit India. (IANS)

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Alliance for Fair Trade With India Urges Welcomes Congressional Call for Concrete Reforms to Improve India’s Business Environment

Jun 26, 2017 0

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Business leaders with the Alliance for Fair Trade with India (AFTI) applauded a letter from congressional trade leaders to President Donald Trump in advance of today’s meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the letter, leaders of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees urged President Trump to press for the elimination of trade and investment barriers in India that harm American businesses and workers.

The letter, signed by the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee (Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR)) and House Ways & Means Committee (Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Richard Neal (D-MA)), notes: “While Indian businesses continue to benefit from open U.S. markets, India has failed to eliminate, or even address concretely, multiple trade and investment barriers that have been the focus of recent bilateral and multilateral fora. At the same, India has imposed several new significant barriers that have harmed U.S. producers across all sectors of our economy, including services, manufacturing, and agriculture.”

Orrin Hatch

“Manufacturers want an opportunity to invest in and help develop India’s growing economy, but there are still significant tariff and trade barriers that are hampering manufacturers ability to do business in India,” said Linda Dempsey, Vice President for International Economic Affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers. “While increased high-level dialogues between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump and other government agencies are welcome, they must result in concrete reforms that resolve roadblocks fully in order to achieve real market access gains.”

The letter cites “high tariffs, inadequate protection of intellectual property rights, [and] inconsistent and nontransparent licensing and regulatory practices” in India as having a direct negative impact on American workers, businesses, and farmers and a major cause for the slow growth in bilateral U.S-India trade.

“From the halls of Congress to the Trump administration, U.S. leaders have placed an emphasis on ensuring American innovation is respected abroad,” said Patrick Kilbride, Vice President of International Intellectual Property for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC). “In India, that includes strengthening IP standards to address issues with patentability, computer-related inventions, and copyright infringement. Prime Minister Modi’s visit presents an opportunity to revisit these issues and renew India’s commitment to policies that will benefit both American and Indian innovators.”

Congressional leaders urged President Trump to work with Prime Minister Modi to eliminate barriers that hamper both countries’ global competitiveness and move forward on concrete improvements to our bilateral trade relationship.

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Logic of Indo-US strategic ties unarguable, says Modi

Jun 26, 2017 0

NEW YORK–Saying both India and the US are determined to defeat the “scourge” of terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that “the logic of our strategic relationship is incontrovertible”.

Modi, ahead of his meeting with President Donald Trump, also said in comments published in The Wall Street Journal that he expected bilateral ties in the next few decades to be “an even more remarkable story of ambitious horizons, convergent action and shared growth”.

“The past two decades have been a productive journey of engagement for our mutual security and growth. I expect the next few decades to be an even more remarkable story of ambitious horizons, convergent action and shared growth.

Modi recalled how he told the US Congress in June 2016 that the bilateral relationship had overcome the “hesitations of history”. “A year later, I return to the US confident in the growing convergence between our two nations.

“This confidence stems from the strength of our shared values and the stability of our systems. Our people and institutions have steadfastly viewed democratic change as an instrument for renewal and resurgence.”

He said the two countries stand as mutually reinforcing engines of growth and innovation in an uncertain global economic landscape.

“Confidence in each other’s political values and a strong belief in each other’s prosperity has enabled our engagement to grow.”

Saying defence was another mutually beneficial sphere of their partnership, Modi said both India and the US had an overriding interest “in securing our societies, and the world, from the forces of terrorism, radical ideologies and non-traditional security threats.

“India has four decades’ experience in fighting terrorism, and we share the US administration’s determination to defeat this scourge.”

The two countries, he said, were working together to address the existing and emerging strategic and security challenges that affect them in Afghanistan, West Asia, the large maritime space of the Indo-Pacific and the new and unanticipated threats in cyberspace.

“We also share an interest in ensuring that sea lanes – critical lifelines of trade and energy – remain secure and open to all,” Modi said, without referring to the South China Sea by name.

Indo-US trade, which totals about $115 billion a year, was poised for a multi-fold increase, the Indian Prime Minister said.

“The transformation of India presents abundant commercial and investment opportunities for American businesses. The rollout of the Goods and Services Tax on July 1 will, in a single stroke, convert India into a unified, continent-sized market of 1.3 billion people.

“The planned 100 smart cities, the massive modernization of ports, airports and road and rail networks, and the construction of affordable housing for all by 2022 – the 75th anniversary of India’s independence – are not just promises of great urban renewal within India.

“These plans also showcase the enormous fruits of our relationships with enterprising US partners – worth many billions of dollars over the next decade alone – together with concomitant new employment opportunities across both societies.

“India’s rapidly expanding aviation needs, and our increasing demand for gas, nuclear, clean coal and renewables, are two significant areas of increasing convergence.

“In coming years, Indian companies will import energy in excess of $40 billion from the US, and more than 200 American-made aircraft will join the private Indian aviation fleet.”

Modi said the combination of technology, innovation and skilled workers had helped forge an exciting digital and scientific partnership between the two countries.

“The creative and entrepreneurial energy of our engineers, scientists and researchers, and their free movement between both countries, continue to help India and the US retain their innovation edge and maintain competitiveness in the knowledge economy.”

Modi underlined that whenever India and the US work together, the world reaps the benefits.

He also paid his tribute to the three-million-strong Indian-American community, “which represents the best of both our countries (and) has played a crucial role in connecting and contributing to our societies”. (IANS)

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Modi, Trump to discuss defence partnership, counterterrorism

Jun 25, 2017 0

Washington– Talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump in what would be their first face-to-face meeting would focus on ongoing cooperation, including counter-terrorism and defence partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, besides trade and law enforcement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said.

Spicer said that talks between the two on Monday would be “robust”.

“… The President and the Prime Minister will discuss ongoing cooperation, including counterterrorism, defence partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, global cooperation, burden-sharing, trade, law enforcement, and energy. I think it’s going to be a very robust discussion,” he said at his regular briefing on Friday.

Modi left New Delhi on Saturday on a three-nation tour that will take him to the US, Portugal and the Netherlands. He reached Portugal on Saturday ahead of his visit to the US on June 26 and will visit the Netherlands on June 27 on the way back home.

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar flew into Washington ahead of Modi’s visit to meet senior officials in the Trump administration and to lay the groundwork for the Modi-Trump meeting.

On Friday, Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and both sides focused on areas of convergence.

Indian envoy to the US Navtej Sarna has termed Modi’s visit a “great opportunity for the two leaders to know each other”. He said Modi will meet the top 20 CEOs of the US during the visit.

Sarna also expressed the hope that the visit will provide sufficient time for Modi and Trump to get to know each other.

He said that India is major defence partner of the US and both countries have a robust defence and security relationship.

In a pre-departure statement, Modi on Friday said he will hold in-depth discussions with Trump during his visit and hoped to build a forward-looking vision for partnership with the new administration.

The Prime Minister said that apart from his official meetings with Trump and his Cabinet colleagues, he will meet some prominent American CEOs and the large Indian diaspora.

Former President Barack Obama had called India-US ties the “most defining partnership” of the 21st century. Both leaders had struck a warm personal equation and worked to ease any bilateral irritants.

The Obama administration had accorded India the status of a ‘major defence partner’.

According to reports, the US has cleared the sale of 22 American-made Guardian surveillance drones for India ahead of Modi’s visit. The deal is estimated to be worth $2-3 billion.

Both sides will also discuss the sale of US fighter jets during the Modi’s visit.

Earlier this week, US defence giant Lockheed Martin and India’s Tata group signed an agreement to jointly build the F-16 Block 70 fighter in India, in a boost to Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme.

Under the deal, Lockheed will shift its Fort Worth, Texas plant to India without directly affecting American jobs.

The deal was announced during the Paris Airshow between Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) and Lockheed Martin.

The navies of India, US and Japan also participate in the Malabar exercise.(IANS)

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Modi arrives in US

Jun 25, 2017 0

Washington– Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here from Portugal on Sunday, on the second leg of his three-nation tour, that will also take him to the Netherlands.

“Touchdown! Wait is over, Celebrations begin! PM @narendramodi on US soil,” the Indian Embassy in the US tweeted.

“Look forward to welcoming India’s PM Modi to @WhiteHouse on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!” US President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Talks between Modi and Trump in what would be their first face-to-face meeting would focus on ongoing cooperation, including counter-terrorism and defence partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, besides trade and law enforcement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said.

Spicer said that talks between the two leaders on Monday would be “robust”.

“… The President and the Prime Minister will discuss ongoing cooperation, including counterterrorism, defence partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, global cooperation, burden-sharing, trade, law enforcement, and energy. I think it’s going to be a very robust discussion,” he said at his regular briefing on Friday.

Modi left New Delhi on Saturday on a three-nation tour that took him first to Portugal. He reached Portugal on Saturday ahead of his visit to the US and will visit the Netherlands on June 27 on the way back home.

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar flew into Washington ahead of Modi’s visit to meet senior officials in the Trump administration and to lay the groundwork for the Modi-Trump meeting.

On Friday, Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and both sides focused on areas of convergence.

Indian envoy to the US Navtej Sarna has termed Modi’s visit a “great opportunity for the two leaders to know each other”. He said Modi will meet the top 20 CEOs of the US during the visit. (IANS)

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Is India Open for Business: Asks Largest US Manufacturers Association

Jun 22, 2017 0

Washington, D.C.– The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the United States that represents small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states, has given a poor rating to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts in enhancing India-US commercial ties and has urged the US government to press India for concrete action.

The Scorecard on India’s business environment shows insufficient progress on many of the same trade and market access barriers that have long troubled manufacturers trying to invest and trade in India. US manufacturers want President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to work together on policies to level the playing field and strengthen the U.S.-India commercial relationship.  The Scorecard is entitled: Is India Open for Business?

The NAM Scorecard report was released ahead of Modi’s visit to the United States this month. Modi is scheduled to meet President Donald Trump on June 26 in Washington, DC.

“In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged a pro-business agenda as he came into office. Since then, Prime Minister Modi has publicly committed to improve the ease of doing business and promote manufacturing in speeches, campaigns, and business engagement. Have these efforts created real progress for manufacturers?” the Scorecard asked. “Resume and expand dialogue with the United States on key commercial issues that are holding back a stronger bilateral commercial relationship,” the NAM Scorecard said.

Narendra Modi

In order to promote a robust U.S.–India commercial relationship, the United States must press India for concrete action, NAM said. Here is the NAM Scorecard and recommendations:

In Progress

  • Streamline onerous licensing and government approval processes that make it more difficult for foreign and domestic companies to do business in India.
  • Quickly and robustly implement critical components of India’s National IPR Policy, including revising and streamlining IP laws and administrative processes.
  • Fully implement India’s immediate commitments under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement to eliminate non-transparent customs and border practices and set short timelines to implement the remainder of the agreement.
  • Finalize details of India’s nuclear liability pool to provide a clear, predictable environment for foreign nuclear operators to evaluate their ability to invest and operate in the market.

Mixed

Fully open India’s investment environment for manufacturers in the United States, allowing 100 percent foreign ownership across manufacturing industries and eliminating bureaucratic hurdles.

Here are the issues with “X” mark in the NAM Scorecard:

  • Establish and implement a clear process requiring all agencies to institute a mandatory 30-day “notice and comment” period for proposed rules.
  • Reduce current high tariffs—including those that do not align with India’s commitments under the Information Technology Agreement—and avoid imposing burdensome new tariffs on manufactured products.
  • Fully eliminate forced localization rules impacting key manufacturing sectors, such as solar energy, information technology and medical equipment.
  • Fully comply with WTO decisions that ruled against Indian industrial policies, including those in solar energy and poultry.
  • Demonstrate a clear commitment to innovation through policies and practices that allow inventors of all nationalities to register, protect and use their IP in India.
  • Improve trade secret protection in India, making specific, concrete changes to law and practice that build on constructive bilateral dialogue.
  • Address structural barriers that prevent effective IP enforcement in India, including both policy barriers and limited enforcement capacity and political will.
  • Eliminate unwarranted restrictions on cross-border data flows that harm manufacturers and their ability to operate in both the United States and India.
  • Halt recent moves to impose price controls on medical device and pharmaceutical products that have raised major red flags about India’s business environment.

NAM is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States.

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Prime Minister Modi to Visit Washington at the Invitation of President Trump

Jun 12, 2017 0

WASHINGTON, DC—Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Washington DC on June 25-26, 2017, at the invitation of the President Donald J. Trump, Indian Embassy said in a statement.

Prime Minister will hold official talks with President Trump on June 26. This will be the first meeting between the two leaders.

“Their discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement on issues of mutual interest and consolidation of multi-dimensional strategic partnership between India and the U.S,” the statement said.

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US-India Business Council delegation meets UP Chief Minister Adityanath

Jun 6, 2017 0

Lucknow– A delegation of the US-India Business Council called on the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday and discussed the possibilities of a closer economic relationship, an official said.

Led by Mukesh Aadhi, the delegation praised the decisions being taken by the present government and said they will go a long way to develop the state.

The delegates expressed their desire to cooperate in education, healthcare, production of world class medical devices like stents, food processing, potable water techniques, technology, tourism and other sectors.

Yogi Adityanath

Aadhi added that in its purpose of fostering economic links between the two countries, the council wanted to extend cooperation with the state in taking forward its development programmes.

Reciprocating the desire to work together based on policies and objectives of the state government, Adityanath said that it was committed to the welfare of the poor, exploited, marginalised and the deprived sections of the society and was working in this direction.

Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, who was present, apprised the USIBC representatives about the policies and programs of the state government and said that it was willing to take the mutual ties forward. (IANS)

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Only 17 percent of total 85,000 visas go to Indian companies per year: Official

May 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– A large chunk of US firms ride on the back of the services provided by Indian companies, Information Technology Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Tuesday adding that only 17 per cent of the total 85,000 visas issued every year by the US go to Indian companies.

“I’m sure that as and when the US government does the meeting for review of the H1-B visa regime, they will take into account what has been the value added by the Indian companies — the fact that only 17 per cent of the total 85,000 visas go to Indian companies, and that a very large number of US companies actually ride on the back of the services provided by the Indian companies,” said Sundararajan at the inaugural session here of Broadband India Forum.

“The Indian government is already in very close co-ordination with the US authorities, and the value proposition and the partnership India has with the US… this is well known. So, we hope that any changes or any review will be built on that foundation.”

Aruna Sundararajan

Sundararajan said that with new technologies emerging, people are moving from one vertical to another.

“Some of the companies which have been named have clarified that there is nothing different this year from earlier years. As part of their annual appraisals, they may not be renewing the contracts with some people. But it would be absolutely incorrect to assume that suddenly this year a large number of jobs are being shed,” she told reporters here.

The IT secretary further added: “It is true that new technologies are emerging. Digital payments, cyber security, big data, Cloud — all these are growing. Start-ups are growing. So, some people may move on from one sector or one vertical to another.”

“But overall I won’t categorically mention here that any report is interpreting this change as a large scale loss of jobs in the IT sector, that would be factually misleading and incorrect.” (IANS)

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