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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Indian Ministry of Food Processing Industries Official Visits US, Urges Firms to Take Advantage of India’s Liberalized Foreign Investment Rules

May 4, 2017 0

WASHINGTON, DC– Jagdish Prasad Meena, Special Secretary in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, has bugun an intensive two-day round of meetings with high-level officials from several Chicagoland food services, logistics and restaurant companies, urging them to take advantage of India’s liberalized foreign investment rules, readymade infrastructure and improving ease-of-doing-business climate.

Given its size and location in the Midwest, Chicago has been the hub of the U.S. food and food processing industry and is home to many of the world’s leading food and agriculture companies. Special Secretary Meena will meet with Potbelly, headquartered in downtown Chicago, and Mondelez, which has a bakery in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Meetings are also scheduled with Sensient, Griffith Foods, and Ingredion, etc.

Jagdish Prasad Meena

Under Prime Minister NarendraModi, India has significantly liberalized foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations, and now allows 100 percent FDI in manufacturing of food products and 100 percent FDI in trading including e-commerce in food products manufactured and/or produced in India. India has undertaken several national and state-level programs to improve the nation’s standing in the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business Index.

India’s food processing industry is experiencing significant growth and boasts existing infrastructure in new Mega Food Parks around the country as well as state-of-the-art Cold Chain facilities.

From Nov. 3-5, 2017, New Delhi will host the World Food India 2017, a first-of-its-kind mega-scale event showcasing the large agricultural/horticultural produce base of India and its huge young population, providing a ready market providing immense investment opportunities for the entire food processing and food retail sector. Leading U.S. companies are invited to learn about India’s proactive policies and profitable opportunities available across the entire food processing and food retail value chain.

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White House welcomes Infosys move to hire 10,000 Americans

May 3, 2017 0

Washington–The White House has welcomed the announcement by global software major Infosys to hire 10,000 American workers in the next two years, calling it a “political victory”.

“We’re glad to see companies like Infosys see opportunity in the American economy again,” said Ninio Fetalvo, a White House spokesman, in a statement to the Washington Post.

Infosys on Tuesday announced that it would hire 10,000 American workers in the next two years and would set up four technology and innovation hubs across North America to focus on cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud and big data.

The first hub will open in the midwestern state of Indiana in August and is expected to create 2,000 jobs by 2021 for American workers.

“The hubs will have technology and innovation focused areas and serve clients in key industries such as financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and energy,” said the firm in a statement.

The White House characterised the Infosys announcement as a political victory, pointing to it as further evidence that companies are renewing investment in the US as a result of the Trump administration’s “pro-growth economic agenda”.

Clients in the US contribute about 60 per cent of the company’s software export revenue per year.

“We are committed to hiring 10,000 American technology workers over the next two years to help invent and deliver the digital futures for our clients in the US,” said Infosys Chief Executive Vishal Sikka in the statement.

The $10.3-billion company will hire experienced professionals as well as recent graduates from major universities and local and community colleges to create talent pools for the future.

The decision to ramp up local hiring by Indian IT majors like Infosys, TCS and Wipro comes also in light of Trump’s order to ensure that H-1B visas were awarded to the most skilled and highly-paid. (IANS)

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India-US military logistics pact could be functional by July

Apr 27, 2017 0

By Anjali Ojha

New Delhi– The landmark Indo-US logistics pact that provides for cashless refuelling, replenishment and related services to the militaries of the two countries could be functional as early as July with most of the kinks ironed out, informed sources said.

“The agreement is likely to be implemented before the Malabar exercise,” the sources told IANS referring to the annual India-US-Japan naval drill in the Bay of Bengal that is slated for July.

Manohar Parrikar, then India’s Defence Minister and his US counterpart at the time, Ashton Carter, had inked the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) last August.

Under this, both countries will designate military facilities on either side for facilities like refuelling and replenishment — with the books being balanced at the end of year.

During joint exercises like Malabar, both countries were required to make payments each time for using each other’s facilities. Now, the accounts will be settled once a year.

According to the sources, the details of the agreement have been worked out, with India sharing its “point of contact” list. The US had shared its list last year.

This list lays down the ports globally where vessels of the two countries can dock to take on supplies.

The sources also said that the vexed issue of arriving at a common accounting system for the three services has also been resolved.

The agreement had been pending for 10 years, with the former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government fighting shy of expressing its opinion one way or the other.

It comes at a time when the US has been vocal about the growing activities of China in the South China sea and has repeatedly stressed on freedom of navigation.

LEMOA is a tweaked, India-specific version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which the US had first proposed in 2004 at the sixth meeting of the India-US Defence Policy Group.

The LSA, in turn, is a version of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that the US has with several NATO nations.

India had provided logistics support to the US during the 1990-91 Gulf War, when the Chandra Shekhar-led government under Chandra Shekhar granted overflight rights US militaty planes and even permitted refueling — but revoked this after protests.

During the 2004 Tsunami, US support came in handy with India lacking the capability to provide assistance to the vast affected areas, as it did after 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Experts say the agreement will help provide such humanitarian assistance in future.

Laxman Behera, a member of IDSA’s Defence Economics and Industry Centre, termed the pact a “step forward” in consolidating the India-US strategic partnership.

“This is another example of growing proximity in relations between the two countries. It will be helpful for India, because if the army, navy or air force goes somewhere, you would not have to complete the formalities for logistics support,” Behera told IANS.

The pact will benefit the navy the most, he added. (IANS)

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US-based FireEye’s Helix security solution now available in India

Apr 20, 2017 0

New Delhi– US-based cyber security company FireEye on Thursday announced that its Helix automated security platform is now available globally including in India.

FireEye Helix addresses customers’ security problems by applying FireEye “iSIGHT” intelligence, orchestration and Mandiant expertise to any security operations environment and delivers simplified and integrated security operations experience.

Helix does this by over 300 technology integrations with basic security tools in-use by customers, including next-generation firewalls, anti-virus and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) that provide real-time analysis of security alerts generated by network hardware and applications.

Grady Summers

“With Helix, we are delivering the basis of simpler, integrated, and automated security operations with a powerful, central hub that will reduce risk and costs for our customers,” Grady Summers, Chief Technology Officer at FireEye, said in a statement.

Helix combines machine, adversary, and breach intelligence to identify and detect threats. It delivers automation and orchestration that increases response speed, shrinks alert-to-fix time and lowers cost of operations.

For the existing FireEye customers, simple upgrade programmes are available.

Additional features are available as add-ons subscriptions to the Helix platform, including ‘Expanded Automation Capabilities’, ‘Enhanced Malware Analysis’ and more.

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