India-US relations are multi-sectoral, says Sitharaman; seeks greater investment

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New Delhi– Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the India-US relations have developed into a global strategic partnership through 50+ bilateral dialogue mechanisms, and their cooperation is broad-based and multi-sectoral.

“The strength of the India-US relationship lies in mutual understanding of each one’s necessities and respecting the differences,” she said while addressing the India US Business and Economic Opportunities Session Event on the sidelines of the 9th Economic and Financial Partnership (EFP) meet.

“A testament to our deepening economic and business relations is that bilateral trade in goods between the two countries crossed the $100 billion mark in 2021, making it the largest volume of goods trade in India-US economic history.

“It is worth noting that the bilateral defence trade between India and US has reached more than $20 billion from near zero about 12 years ago. As our defence partnership evolves, our defence industry welcomes opportunities for collaboration, especially to innovate, co-develop, and co-produce for India and the world. India and the United States have time and again exhibited shared appreciation for mutual collaboration on a host of multilateral fora. In 2021, the United States joined the International Solar Alliance headquartered in India,” she said.

Sitharaman, while addressing the US delegation led by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, took the opportunity to highlight that amid global economic gloom, India emerged as a bright spot.

“You are all aware that the global economic outlook remains challenging. According to the latest World Economic Outlook of the IMF (October 11, 2022), global economic activity is experiencing a broad-based and sharper-than-expected slowdown, with inflation higher than in several decades. The Indian economy is not insulated from the impact of global economic developments. However, India has carved out its growth trajectory supported by the above-normal south-west monsoon, public investment, strong corporate balance sheets, upbeat consumer and business confidence and receding threat of the pandemic,” she said.

Sitharaman also listed for the gathering the various reform measures taken by the Indian government to chart the path of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

“We recognise foreign capital flows as a vital component of India’s growth story. Key reforms include simplification and rationalisation of the Foreign Portfolio Investor (FPI) regulations, increase in aggregate foreign investment limit, introduction of Common Application Form (CAF) for registration of FPIs, and opening of new channels of debt investments like the Voluntary Retention Route (VRR) and Fully Accessible Route (FAR). The success of these measures is reflected in the sustained investment flows entering India through the FPI route. Significantly, the US is the top source country of FPI investment in India, with the Asset under Custody (AUC) of FPIs from the USA standing close to $234 billion as on September 30, 2022,” she said.

Exhorting US investors to invest in India’s growth story, the Finance Minister said that India’s is an ongoing growth story which offers multitudes of opportunities.

“I invite and call upon you- the stalwarts from business and prominent thought leaders, to participate in, and contribute to this vision of shared prosperity of India and the US,” she said.

Earlier, Sitharaman held bilateral discussions with Yellen during the 9th EFP. The meeting was also attended by Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, Chief Economic Adviser V. Anantha Nageswaran and US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who was present through video conferencing. (IANS)

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