Democrats back Trump for stronger India ties: Indian-American Congressman

Nov 30, 2017 0

By Arul Louis

New York– Although there is an ideological chasm between US President Donald Trump and the Democratic Party, India-US relation “transcends partisanship” and the party supports his initiatives to strengthen it further, according to Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi.

“The more he can do that the better because it will help each of our economies and will enhance our security and also bring our two peoples together even closer between the world’s oldest and largest democracies,” the Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives said in interview with IANS.

Trump has said that a “critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expanded on it saying last month the administration wanted to “deepen ties with India” to make it one of the anchors of a democratic world order.

“It is good that the President is continuing the strengthening of the US-India relationship,” Krishnamoorthi said. “I am glad that the relationship is now something that both parties support.”

But he said that it should not be a transactional relationship but be built on a foundation that endures.

“What I am always concerned about is any kind of relation, any kind of interaction that is transactional in nature,” he said. “We need to make it about relationship growing.”

For this, “it is very, very important that for instance that we enhance our economic relationship, that we continue to promote Indian investment in the US,” he said, “just as the Indians will promote American investment in India”.

Krishnamoorthi made a pitch for investments in his Illinois constituency located in suburbs around Chicago, saying he hopes Indian businesses would come there.

The Indian auto manufacturer, Mahindra Group, has set up a factory and technical centre with a $230 million investment in neighbouring Michighan state across the lake from Illinois.

On the security front, Washington and New Delhi “have to be close partners in fighting terrorism, but also in making sure that we can bring some democratic norms and, kind of making sure everyone observes the rules of the road in our global relationships, the way we conduct our global business”, Krishnamoorthi said.

Krishnamoorthi, who was born in Delhi and came to the US as a baby with his parents, is a mechanical engineer and a lawyer by training. He headed companies that develop technologies for defence and renewable energy sectors before his election last year.

There are three other Indian-Americans, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Ami Bera — all Democrats — in the House of Representatives and a Senator of Indian descent.

“I affectionately call them the ‘Samosa Caucus’,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We try to help each other out on our bills of interest.”

“We have taken a stand against hate crimes directed against Indian-Americans whether they are Sikhs, Hindus or Muslims or Jains. We work together on those issues,” he said.

The other Representatives supported a bill he has introduced to set up a commission to study the rise in hate crimes and recommend ways to combat them, Krishnamoorthi said.

While there had been just one Indian-American Congressman, Bera, in the elections last year their numbers shot up to five in a sign of the community’s increased political involvement.

“That trend will continue to proceed apace,” Krishnamoorthi said. “I think that what is really important is that at the grassroots level Indian-Americans really engage in the political process. That means voting and volunteering and assisting candidates who support their agenda that is friendly to their values.”

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US consulate launches scheme for young entrepreneurs

Nov 16, 2017 0

Patna– The United States Consulate General, Kolkata, in collaboration with the social enterprise Contact Base, on Thursday launched a youth entrepreneurship initiative in four cities of east India — Guwahati, Patna, Ranchi and Kolkata.

The programme, Y4BIZ (Youth for Business), in Patna is being held in association with a local organisation, Bihar Vidyapeeth Centre for Incubation and Entrepreneurship.

The Y4BIZ programme aims to support a promising group of 50 young entrepreneurs and transform their business ideas from the initial stage to a sustainable business model, said a press release.

The 50 entrepreneurs will be selected through a rigorous screening process after the launch events in all the four cities.

This will be followed by an online capacity building and mentoring programme run by the IC2 Institute, University of Texas, Austin.

A group of ten mentors will also be selected to be trained at the Nexus Incubator Hub, which is housed in the American Center in New Delhi.

Finally, the top 10 business ideas will be showcased before industry leaders, investors and policy makers, to celebrate entrepreneurship and recognise the youth leaders in 2018, according to the release.

Director of the American Center and Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulate General, Kolkata Jamie Dragon said while launching the event in Guwahati: “The youth entrepreneurship development is a proven strategy that positively impacts the lives of young people. This project seeks to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in eastern India and to strengthen linkages between American and Indian youth leaders.”

The scheme is part of a series of activities in the run-up to the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which is scheduled for November 28-30 in Hyderabad.

Organised annually since 2010, GES is a pre-eminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes over a thousand emerging entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from around the world.

This year’s summit, being hosted jointly by the United States and India, will be held for the first time in South Asia. The theme for GES is “Women First, Prosperity for all,” and will focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally.

Ivanka Trump, Senior Advisor to the President, will head the United States’ delegation to the summit.

Suman Mukhopadhyay, Director & Vice President (Finance & Strategy), Contact Base said: “An entrepreneurs’ journey is a journey of loneliness. For first generation early stage entrepreneurs, this can be a daunting challenge to surmount. If one is attempting to start an enterprise in the eastern region of India, odds are stacked too unfavorably.

“An initiative like Y4BIZ, which intends to create a network of mentors, entrepreneurs, incubators and policy makers, will work closely with the stakeholders towards evolving favourable environments for startups. This can help transform the landscape of entrepreneurship in this region.”(IANS)

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American expert favours Indo-US pact in IT sector

Nov 7, 2017 0

Bengaluru– A bilateral agreement in the IT sector between India and the US would benefit many sectors, including defence and aerospace, said a top official of an American advisory services firm on Tuesday.

“A bilateral US-India IT sector agreement will benefit many sectors such as defence, aerospace, banking, science and technology, infrastructure and flow of people,” said The Stern Group Chairwoman Paula Stern, at the two-day conference on ‘Unlocking US-India Trade Potential’, organised by the US Consulate General with the Atlantic Council.

The Washington-based Stern Group provides advisory services in business and government strategy. Its services include broker connections with governments, resolving commercial disputes and developing political and economic policy campaigns.

Stern, a former chairperson of the US International Trade Commission, also asked India to take the lead in the sectoral focus to strengthen a bilateral US-India trade presence in the Indo-Pacific region, as this would allow India to serve its grander strategic and economic objectives.

“In doing so, India will be handing the US a step up that will help it regain American geostrategic leadership,” she said

With North America accounting for about 60 per cent of the $150-billion Indian software services and IT product exports annually and iun view of the inter-linkages between the two nations in IT, e-commerce and cyber security, Stern said the sectoral agreement would facilitate a grander convergence and reinforce security capacity and inter-operability.

“The proposal has merit geo-strategically, economically, and politically. Addressing tariffs and regulatory issues will benefit trade for both nations,” she said.

US Consul General Robert Burgess, Infosys co-founder and Chairman Nandan Nilekani and Atlantic Council Director Bharath Gopalaswamy attended the conference. (IANS)

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US firm Epicor to sell ERP software in India

Nov 2, 2017 0

Bengaluru– US-based Epicor Software Corporation on Thursday said it would sell Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in India through Redington India.

“Reddington will distribute our industry-specific ERP solutions to the Indian manufacturing industry, especially the small and medium enterprises,” Epicor Vice President, International, Sabby Gill told reporters here.

As a leading technology products distributor, Redington India will select and training specialist resellers to grow the Epicor customer base and meet demand for ERP solutions across the country.

“Epicor ERP is a great fit for Indian manufacturing firms looking to grow. Adding its ERP to our portfolio will enable us to capitalise on the untapped market potential,” said Redington President Anand Chakravarthy.

The modern architecture of Epicor ERP will enable customers to deal with challenges of preparing for Industry 4.0, as smart technologies are adopted.

“Whilst India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it is also a digitally advanced market. Redington has expertise to enable manufacturers to digitally transform and grow their businesses,” added Gill.

Epicor’s Regional Vice-President Thiru Vengadam will spearhead the strategy to grow its footprint and help companies thrive through ERP. (IANS)

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Twenty major US firms to invest in UP

Oct 23, 2017 0

Lucknow– Twenty major companies of the US will invest in different sectors in Uttar Pradesh, an official said on Monday.

At a conclave held here, representatives of these top US companies were unanimous in their view that Uttar Pradesh was a growing and potential market, the official said.

Boeing India representative Pratyush Kumar, a senior member of the US Embassy in India, Uttar Pradesh’s Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh and Niti Ayog member V.K. Paul were present at the US-India Industry conclave.

Paul told the businessmen about various policies and investor-friendly works initiated by the Narendra Modi government and added that the Prime Minister was working on making innovation a culture in the country.

Currently, 600 US companies function from India and the country is taking giant leaps in energy, transport and infrastructure sectors and developing Smart Cities.

Thanking the US delegation, Sidharth Nath Singh said in comparison to other states, Uttar Pradesh was lagging behind and rued how during previous governments while some investment came, things did not move forward.

Promising a full working environment and security, the Minister said a conducive environment for investment and industry begins with good law and order.

He added that in the first six months of the Bharatiya Janata Party regime in the state, a lot of work had been done with regard to maintaining law and order and containing crime.

Sidharth Nath Singh also accused the previous governments of working for caste, communities and with a narrow vision while assuring the US businessmen of all possible cooperation and help in setting up base in the state. (IANS)

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US geopolitical support to India needs more economic content

Oct 23, 2017 0

New Delhi– America’s recent support to India in a move to maintain balance in geopolitics, should have more economic content to ensure a sustained and positive policy architecture in the Asia Pacific region, the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) said on Monday.

“The recent unequivocal India outreach stand of the United States to maintain balance in the geo-politics should have more economic thrust and content to ensure sustained positive policy architecture in the Asia Pacific, the IACC said in a statement here.

“The bonhomie demonstrated by President Trump by celebrating Diwali in the White House, followed up by the blunt statement of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that India is the strongest and most reliable ally in the Asia Pacific region to purge terrorism and disruptive forces from the region are pointers to a new and emerging partnership between India and the US,” it said.

“It is important to give a strong economic heft and gravitas to these developments to make it sustainable and enduring,” said IACC President Vasant Subramanyan.

Describing the US and India as “two bookends of stability on either side of the globe,” Tillerson last week proposed that both countries work together in the Indo-Pacific region to counter the disruptive force of China.

Speaking in Washington, Tillerson contrasted the manner of China’s emergence with that of India.

“It (China) has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international, rules-based order – even as countries like India operate within a framework that protects other nations’ sovereignty,” he said.

Subramanyan noted that four areas required the immediate attention of both countries. These are “infrastructure investment, manufacturing, technology and skill development, besides steps for augmenting bilateral trade”.

“Pitching for a more positive involvement of India initiated International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC), which would connect India, Iran, and Russia and Central Asia, IACC felt that this ambitious project should be backed more specifically and strongly by the US both in terms of geo-political and economic considerations.”

According to IACC, China has taken a calibrated and diplomatic stance in its response to the evolving relationship between India and the US by describing it as a positive development.

“Some of the Chinese owned or controlled corporations are investing in India in various sectors. Some of these companies are operating out from the US and they stand to gain immensely from augmenting economic partnership between India and the US,” the statement said.

“IACC suggests that the US can respond to the initiative of the Indian administration to import crude oil from the US first time after 40 years as a sequel to the clarion call by the Trump Administration to buy the US products globally,” the statement said.

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced earlier this month that two shipments of 1.6 million barrels of crude oil from US had arrived in India, recently. He said the three Indian public sector refineries have already placed a cumulative order of 7.85 million barrels from the US. In addition, a private sector refiner has also placed an order of 2 million barrels from America.

The US has also become the top exporter of defence equipment to India, the statement added. (IANS)

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Businesses betting big on new US Ambassador to India

Oct 11, 2017 0

By Aroonim Bhuyan

New Delhi– With Kenneth Juster being named as the new US Ambassador to India, US businesses are expecting that bilateral commercial ties will grow with him in that position, according to a senior office-bearer of a US-India business body.

“We are very optimistic, we are grateful that he accepted the job. It’s maybe the position that business has with his appointment because he understands business,” Edward Monser, Vice-President of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), told IANS in an interview here.

“We have worked with him before. He has had relationships with all of us in the executive council of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum,” Monser, who is also the President and COO of Emerson Electric and is here for an energy forum, said.

“So, we know him well. We trust him. Most importantly, he doesn’t wait for things to become a problem. He is proactive, he reaches out to both sides. He makes sure people understand and he communicates very well.”

Juster succeeds Richard Verma, who left after Donald Trump was sworn in as US President in January this year.

Juster has served as the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs under Trump and was also the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security under former President George W. Bush.

Kenneth Juster

He is expected to take up office towards the end of this month or in the beginning of November.

Stating that most proactive ambassadors know, understand and promote business development as well as good diplomatic dialogue, Monser said that “India and the US will get along better if our commercial relationships are stronger”.

He is of the view that there is now an opportunity to balance trade between India and the US.

“The dialogue around how to balance it and where there are opportunities to balance the trade I think are productive,” he stated. “The new Ambassador will be able to help with that.”

Monser said that the areas of advanced agriculture, defence and and energy “are really good opportunities to close the gap”.

“By closing the trade gap I think you will see benefit more clearly on both sides.”

Combined India-US trade stands at $124 billion but Monser is of the view that “we can realise the potential and go to $500 billion”.

“We see a path there that could be shared and benefit India and benefit the US,” he said.

“I think that’s why our leaders get along so well because they can see it too. They can see the real opportunities. So, we want to stay focused on growing the trade between the two countries, growing the investments between the two countries and encouraging the investment both ways.”

On the role of the newly-formed USISPF, he said that that the “old structure” kept businesses from both sides from going to the new business models that are most important.

“So the best thing to do was to start all over again. Start anew, again with very experienced people, people that have solved problems in the US and India for some time,” Monser said.

He also appreciated new Indian initiatives like Digital India and Skill India.

“I think we will always have a challenge to make sure that we have the number of engineers and scientists we need,” Monser said.

“But that’s not the major issue. The bulk of the population, more than 50 per cent of the jobs are what I would call technical for which you don’t need an engineering degree but you have to have training and knowledge to work in a digital economy.” (IANS)

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TCS to appeal against US court order on $420 million punitive damages

Oct 2, 2017 0

Mumbai–Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Sunday said it would appeal against a US court order in a lawsuit filed by an American firm for damages on the alleged misuse of its trade documents.

“The company plans to defend its position before the trial judge, as it did not misuse or derive any benefit from the documents of Epic Systems Corporation (Epic),” said the IT major in a regulatory filing on the BSE.

In an appeal by TCS, the Western District Court of Wisconsin, however, reduced the compensatory and punitive damages to $420 million (Rs 3,055 crore) from $940 million (Rs 6,110 crore), awarded by its jury in April 2016.

Wisconsin-based privately-held healthcare software firm Epic had alleged that a TCS employee had illegally downloaded its documents, which amounts to breach of contract and an Intellectual Propriety (IP) infringement.

“The company has received legal advice to the effect that the order and the reduced damages awarded are not supported by evidence presented during the trial and an appeal can be made to a superior court to set aside the jury verdict,” said TCS in the filing.

The order will not have impact on the company’s financial results for the second quarter of 2017-18, to be declared on October 12, it said. (IANS)

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US ships first lot of crude oil to India

Oct 2, 2017 0

New Delhi–The first shipment of US crude oil to India arrived at Paradip Port in Odisha, as part of the two million barrels contracted by India.

The shipment follows recent commitments to US oil purchases by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum (BPCL), both of which have placed orders for over 2 million barrels from the US. US crude oil shipments to India have the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to $2 billion.

The shipment at Paradip was met by US Consul General to Hyderabad, Katherine Hadda; Joint Secretary for International Cooperation from the Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Sunjay Sudhir; and Joint Secretary, Americas Division, from the Ministry of External Affairs, Munu Mahawar, said a US Embassy press release.

This is one of the first shipments to India since the United States stopped oil exports in 1975.

MaryKay Carlson, Charg√© d’Affaires at the US Embassy in New Delhi said “This event marks a significant milestone in the growing partnership between the United States and India. The US and India are elevating our cooperation in the field of energy, including plans for cleaner fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear, and cutting edge storage and energy efficiency technologies. We look forward to working together on further sales of US crude and exploring opportunities to expand the role of natural gas in India.”

During their June 26 meeting in Washington, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed to expanding and elevating bilateral energy cooperation through a Strategic Energy Partnership. The leaders called for a rational approach that balances environment and climate policy, global economic development, and energy security needs.(IANS)

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US-based Copart opens India Technology Center in Hyderabad

Aug 8, 2017 0

Hyderabad–Copart, a US-based global leader in online vehicle auctions. on Tuesday launched its India Technology Centre here

The facility was inaugurated by US Consul General in Hyderabad, Katherine Hadda in the presence of state IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan and the company’s top management.

Copart Inc Executive Vice President Will Franklin said that the company has nearly 200 yards globally including one each in Delhi and Hyderabad. “We’re aiming at setting up around 50 yards in India gradually,” he said.

Will Franklin

Copart India Technology Centre Director Abdul Khuddus said Athat nearly $2 million have been invested in Indian facility. “Hyderabad provides great opportunity to companies like Copart. The technology support, which is the backbone of the company’s unique system, will be developed and improvised at this facility,” he added.

The company sells nearly 2 million dead cars every year, and aims to double the numbers.

Copart has presence in 190 locations across 11 countries with a Rs 45,000 crore market cap. The company also processes used cars, cars dumped by owners or seized by insurance companies, mostly End of Life Vehicles (ELVs).

Nearly 1600 vehicles that were damaged in Chennai floods were acquired by Copart and sold online to bidders. During the Katrina floods in the US, two lakh ELVs were auctioned online.

Describing Hyderabad as a prime destination for tech companies, US Consul General Hadda said nearly 130 US companies having set up their facilities in the city.

“A company like this (Copart) recognizes the world is getting flatter, and is selling cars as far as in Afghanistan among other locations, which is incredible. It speaks of the power of technology, which is very transformative to our lives,” she said.

Ranjan said it was the small and medium companies like Copart that actually provide numbers for Hyderabad to grow, in addition to tech giants like Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

He hailed the company’s plan to hire 120 people by the end of 2017, and double the number by next year. (IANS)

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