John Chambers-led USIBC delegation to Vibrant Gujarat Summit among the largest

Jan 7, 2017 0

WALTHAM, MA–John Chambers, USIBC Board Chairman and Executive Chairman, Cisco Systems will lead a delegation of almost 100 representatives from leading U.S. companies to the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, US-India Business Council said in a statement.

Companies in the delegation include: Cisco, Emerson, CME Group, 3M Company, Varian Medical, BIO, Dell, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, FedEx, Gilead, Huntsman Corporation and Mastercard, among others.

Dr. Mukesh Aghi, President, US India Business Council said, “Vibrant Gujarat has placed India on the world map, providing an impetus to industrial growth, innovation and has paved the way for multinational companies to integrate India in their global supply chain. I congratulate Prime Minister Modi for realizing the dream of not just Vibrant Gujarat but a Vibrant India.”

John Chambers

He further added, “In 2016-17, USIBC is expecting an additional inflow of US $27 billion to India by at least 52 U.S. companies. We are delighted to see the fastened pace of India’s recent domestic reforms.”

The USIBC Delegation to Vibrant Gujarat, led by John Chambers, comprises several CEOs and senior executives, including Ed Monser, Vice-Chairman, USIBC and President, Emerson Electric; David Farr, CEO, Emerson Electric; Ashish Khandpur, Senior Vice President & CTO, 3M Company; Peter Huntsman, CEO, Huntsman Corporation; Amit Midha, President – Asia Pacific & Japan, Dell; Ravi Aurora, Senior Vice President, MasterCard; Jim Greenwood, CEO, BIO; Richard Boocock, President- India, Middle East, Egypt & Turkey, Air Products & Chemicals; Sukhveer Singh, Vice President, Varian Medical Systems; Raj Subramaniam, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Executive Vice President, FedEx Corporation; Ambassador Robert Blake, Senior Director, McLarty Associates.

During the five-day summit, the delegation will hold meetings with the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi; Hon’ble Union Minister for Finance, Shri Arun Jaitley; Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Commerce & Industries, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman; Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani; Niti Aayog CEO Shri Amitabh Kant, in addition to other senior state and central government officials. The delegation aims to reinforce the significance of U.S.-India bilateral trade, explore opportunities for accelerating American investment in India and promote job creation for both economies.

The USIBC and U.S. Embassy will also host the United States Country Seminar on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. This seminar will focus on U.S. -led innovation and entrepreneurship as a driver for economic growth in India.

Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is the premier business advocacy organization, comprised of 400 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi.

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US Envoy Richard Verma likely to end his Indian assignment

Jan 6, 2017 0

By Arul Louis

New York– US President Barack Obama’s appointee as ambassador to India, Richard Verma, may be ending his New Delhi assignment this month when President-elect Donald Trump takes over on January 20 if an administration directive to non-career diplomats holds.

The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration has asked all “non-career ambassadors to submit their resignations effective with the close of the Obama presidency” on January 20. The newspaper quoted three unidentified officials as confirming that all the ambassadors have complied with the directive.

Richard Verma

While requests for resignations by non-career diplomats is usually made at the end of a president’s term, they are usually given some additional time to wind up their affairs. This time there was “the additional admonition that the resignations would be blanket and final,” the newspaper said.

The Post said according to two officials “the unusually stern and specific directive to ‘political ambassadors'” came at the “behest of the incoming Trump administration.”

Verma, a non-career diplomat, is the first person of Indian descent to be ambassador to India.

He did not come up the ranks of the foreign service but was recruited in 2009 to be the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under Hillary Clinton when she was the Secretary of State.

He left the State Department in 2011 to work for a law firm before being appointed ambassador to India in 2014. His nomination received unanimous support from both parties in the Senate.

Long associated with the Democratic Party, he has served as the senior national security advisor to Senator Harry Reid when the Democratic Party had the Senate majority and Reid was its leader.

Verma has worked as an aide to the late Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha and as a director with National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

A lawyer by training, he has also served in the Air Force as a judge advocate. (IANS)

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Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal to attend Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Vibrant Gujarat Summit

Jan 4, 2017 0

New York– US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal is starting a farewell visit to India on Thursday that will take her to the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru and the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Ahmedabad.

Nisha Biswal

The State Department said that she would also visit New Delhi and Mumbai and meet business leaders and government officials “to discuss the dynamic growth in ties between the US and India.

This would be Biswal’s last visit to India in her current capacity as the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia. She would leave office on January 20 when President Barack Obama’s term ends.

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Nasscom, Georgia Tech sign an agreement to drive innovation in IoT

Dec 20, 2016 0

New Delhi– IT industry’s representative body Nasscom on Tuesday said it signed an MoU with Georgia Tech Advanced Research Corporation (GTARC) towards advancing Internet of Things (IoT) and fostering IoT-based innovation through the development of a conducive ecosystem in India.

The MoU will see both Nasscom and GTARC cooperating to address technological and non-technological challenges that surround the adoption of IoT technologies and creating an amiable environment for all organisations in the industry.

The agreement between Nasscom’s Centre of Excellence on the Internet of Things (COE-IoT) and GTARC’s Centre for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT), will also raise awareness on IoT.

Alain Louchez

“IoT will also be used across these industries to improve productivity with minimum usage of natural resources. We are happy to be partnering with GTARC. This will help us combine GTARC’s advanced technology research along with the thriving innovation ecosystem in India,” Sanjeev Malhotra, CEO of Nasscom COE-IoT, said in a statement.

“In close cooperation with Nasscom’s IoT centre, we intend to explore ways to leverage IoT technologies to accelerate and optimise the pace of digital transformation throughout the economy,” added Alain Louchez, Managing Director of GTARC’s Centre for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies.

The CoE-IoT is a joint initiative between the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), Education and Research Network (ERNET) and Nasscom and features laboratory that provides IoT focused startups the usage of various facilities.

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Demonetisation has had no affect on bilateral relations: US envoy

Dec 15, 2016 0

Kolkata–Demonetisation has not in any way affected bilateral ties between Washington and New Delhi, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said here on Wednesday.

Verma said regarding demonetisation of the higher value currency notes, US had an understanding both of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fight against corruption as also the hardship that it has caused the people.

Richard_Verma“Demonetisation has had no impact on bilateral relations between our two countries. We understand what the Prime Minister is trying to do in cracking down on corruption. We also understand the hardship it has caused to the people,” Verma said at the Press Club, Kolkata.

“We understand the effect on people’s day to day lives,” he said.

Asked whether the US mission was also inconvenienced due to the cash shortage, Verma said: “We want to be part of the solution.

“We work well with Indian ministry of external affairs, and the PM’s office. We have very excellent working relation with the ministry.”  (IANS)

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Legislation providing for India’s recognition as major defence partner clears US Congress

Dec 8, 2016 0

New York–A legislation providing for recognition of India as a major defence partner of the US cleared the US Congress on Thursday and now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama’s approval.

The National Defence Authorisation Act approved by the Senate includes a provision, “Enhancing defence and security cooperation with India”, that requires the defence Secretary to take steps to recognise India as the major defence partner of the US.

Last week, the House of Representatives had approved the legislation, which is essentially the defence budget.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar greets United States Defence Secretary Ashton Carter during his visit to New Delhi on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (Photo credit: Dept. of Defense/via IANS)

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar greets United States Defence Secretary Ashton Carter during his visit to New Delhi on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (Photo credit: Dept. of Defense/via IANS)

The final passage in the Senate took place the day Defence Secretary Ashton Carter was in Delhi to discuss with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar the implication of the designation for India-US cooperation in defence.

“The designation of a ‘Major Defence Partner’ is a status unique to India and institutionalises the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level at par with that of the US’ closest allies and partners,” a joint statement issued after their meeting said.

In May the House passed the amendment to the defence finance bill for closer cooperation with India.

But a similar amendment initially failed in the Senate the next month. It was not specifically directed against India as the Senate dropped several pending amendments.

But later in June, the Senate adopted by voice votes an amendment to the bill “to authorise military-to-military exchanges with India”.

The final compromise version of the legislation ironing out the differences in the House and Senate bills was hammered out by armed services committees of the two chambers and was unveiled late last month with the provision for India to be a major defence partner.

Overall, the bill allocates $618.7 for defence. Obama will either sign the bill or veto it, but the bill has enough votes in Congress for a potential veto to be overturned.

Provisions like the one on major defence partner status for India are usually inserted into budget bills by members of the Congress advocating them as they would have the effect of laws and can be adopted faster without having to go through the full legislative process that includes lengthy reviews and debates.

Two separate bills, the US-India Defense Technology and Partnership Act introduced in the House in March, and the Advancing US-India Defense Cooperation Act in the Senate in May, stuck in the legislative process.

Both bills are pending in their respective foreign affairs or relations committees and are unlikely to be taken up in the remainder of the currents of the Congress that ends on January 3 next year. (IANS)

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US for improving connectivity between India and neighbors: Envoy

Dec 3, 2016 0

Agartala–The US government is keen to develop connectivity between India and its neighbours in the Bay of Bengal region and its adjoining areas to boost economies, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said here on Saturday.

“During my visit to the northeastern states, I have discussed with the governments of the region about connectivities, trade, economy and commerce, energy related issues,” said Verma, who has since Monday visited five of the eight northeastern states – Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura, and met Chief Ministers and other stakeholders to discuss various economic and bilateral issues.

Richard_VermaTalking to reporters here, he said that the northeastern region of India has huge resources and potentiality and these must be utilised for the economic development of the region.

“A two-day connectivity summit would be held in Kolkata on December 14-15. We have invited all the northeastern states of India and few other neighbouring countries to participate in the event to boost the connectivity, trade and economy,” he added.

“The US government is exploring ways to build better linkage with India especially the resource rich northeastern region through trade, education, infrastructure or innovation. Currently over 500 US companies are working in India and we are keen to work more with India in diverse sectors.”

Before returning to New Delhi, he visited a 726 MW power project commissioned by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at Palatana in southern Tripura, 65 km south of here.

“The US-based General Electric Company has supplied the turbines for the power project,” he said, adding that the US is keen to collaborate more with India in science and technological sector.

In Tripura, the US envoy visited famous Tripura Sundari temple and the state museum besides India-Bangladesh border at Akhaura and witnessed the beating the retreat ceremony jointly conducted by the Border Security Force (BSF) of India and Boder Guards Bangladesh.

Verma is accompanied by the US Consul General in Kolkata and other officials.

An US Consulate media official said that this visit was part of the ambassador familiarisation tour through northeast India and during this trip, he underscored several key aspects of the strong US-India partnership.

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Demonetisation “important, necessary” against corruption: US spokesperson

Dec 1, 2016 0

Washington– Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s action to demonetise high value currency was “an important and necessary step” to crack down on “corruption and tax dodging,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner has said.

The action was “designed to target illicit cash proceeds from corruption and tax dodging,” Toner said at the Department’s daily briefing on Wednesday in answer to a reporter’s question.

The discontinuation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was, “we believe, an important and necessary step to crack down on this – illegal actions or illicit actions,” he said.

 State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, that the demonetisaiton of Rs 1,000 and 500 notes was “designed to target illicit cash proceeds from corruption and tax dodging.” He was sanswering a reporter\'s question at the daily State Department breifing. (Photo credit: State Department/via IANS)

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, that the demonetisaiton of Rs 1,000 and 500 notes was “designed to target illicit cash proceeds from corruption and tax dodging.” He was sanswering a reporter\’s question at the daily State Department breifing. (Photo credit: State Department/via IANS)

Toner did acknowledge that “it was an inconvenience” for Indians and Americans in India requiring “a little bit of adjustment”.

He viewed the demonetisation as part of a series of actions taken by the Modi government over the last two years to “reduce black market money”.

“I think it also included a four-month amnesty for tax evaders in India, which resulted in, I think, the disclosure or declaration of billions of dollars in hidden assets,” he said.

He was referring to the Modi government’s Income Declaration Scheme earlier this year. It brought out Rs 65,250 crore (or about $9.6 billion) held by 64,275 people, according to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (IANS)

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M777 deal a major step forward in Indo-US relations, says US envoy

Dec 1, 2016 0

New Delhi– United States Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Thursday called the M777 artillery deal as a major step forward in the US-India defence relationship.

“As major defence partners, the United States and India remain committed to enhancing military modernisation efforts and building a security partnership based on trust, transparency and shared interests,” Ambassador Verma said in a statement on the M777 agreement.

“Indian industry will partner with the US defence subsidiary of BAE Systems to locally assemble, integrate and test the howitzers, supporting Prime Minister Modi’s Make-in-India campaign,” he said.

Richard Verma

Richard Verma

Out of 145 guns, BAE will deliver 25 guns and the rest 120 will be assembled in India by Mahindra.

India on Wednesday signed Letter of Agreement and Acceptance (LOA) with the US to purchase 145 M777 ultra-light artillery guns through the foreign military sale (FMS) route.

The 155mm/39 calibre gun, with maximum range of 30 km, is manufactured by the BAE Systems and can be transported through helicopter or aircraft.

The ultra light howitzer is being purchased primarily to deploy on mountains in eastern China border. This will provide the much-needed fire power to the Indian Army in the mountains.

“This deal marks a major step forward in the US-India defence relationship and supports jobs in both our countries,” Verma was quoted as saying in the statement. (IANS)

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India, US resolve tax disputes worth Rs 5,000 crore

Nov 17, 2016 0

New Delhi– India and the US have resolved over 100 cases of tax disputes involving Rs 5,000 crore under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) and have finalised the terms and conditions of the first bilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (APA), an official statement said on Thursday.

The bilateral meeting between India and the US to discuss the tax issues was held in Washington D.C. in the last week of October, 2016.

“During the meeting, 66 MAP cases relating to transfer pricing issues and 42 MAP cases relating to treaty interpretation issues were agreed to be resolved successfully. The total amount that was locked up in dispute in these cases is approximately Rs 5,000 crore and these cases were related to assessment years ranging from AY 1999-2000 to AY 2011-12,” the Finance Ministry said in the statement.

india-us-flag“The discussions in the meeting were focussed on resolving MAP cases pending for a long time and to achieve significant developments in bilateral APA process,” the statement said.

“The resolved cases pertain to various issues like transfer pricing adjustments made to the international transactions in the nature of payment of royalty, payment of management fees, cost contribution arrangements, engineering design services, contract R&D services, investment advisory services, marketing support services, software development services, IT enabled services etc.,” it said.

Treaty interpretative issues in the nature of presence of Permanent Establishment (PE) in India and profit attribution to such PEs, disputes pertaining to royalty income v/s business income of foreign companies, etc. were also discussed, the ministry added.

During the meeting, the competent authorities of India and the US also finalised the terms and conditions of the first ever bilateral APA between the two countries.

Though India started its bilateral APA process with the US by accepting applications from the Indian taxpayers from FY 2012-13, the US started the process only in February 2016 by accepting applications from US taxpayers.

Within a short span of eight months, the agreement has been reached, the ministry said.

“The speedy resolution of cases and agreement on bilateral APA due to effective mechanism of development of mutual trust and cooperation between the competent authorities of two countries would be a positive factor in creating a conducive atmosphere for investments and business by US companies in India,” it said. (IANS)

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