Wed, 04 Oct 2023

Washington [US], June 1 (ANI): Terming the ties between India and the United States as "fantastic", US-India Business Council President Atul Keshap has said that the two countries are on a path of strategic, economic and technological convergence and are increasing cooperation for developing future technologies of the 21st century.

In an interview with ANI, Atul Keshap called the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) as "important as the nuclear deal.""Let's keep in mind that for the last 25 years, our two countries have been on a path of strategic, economic and now technological convergence. We used to have a very difficult relationship back in the days when I joined the Foreign Service. Now, I'm a pensioner and our relationship is fantastic.... But take the long view. We are now Quad partners together," Keshap said.

He was responding to questions about state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States later this month.

"We now are working on bringing industrial convergence of our two great societies together to ensure that the deep tech and future tech of the 21st century is developed and designed by Americans and Indians for the happiness and prosperity of all of the free people of the world. That's a big deal. And I think that's what's going to be talked about at the state visit. We have a shared strategic perspective across the Indo-Pacific. We have a lot that we are doing together already. But there is so much more we can do strategically, economically and diplomatically."PM Narendra Modi will travel to the US on a four-day state visit and attend state dinner on June 22.

"This is only the third state visit by an Indian leader to the United States in all of the history of our relationship. President Radhakrishnan came here on the first state visit from India in 1963. Dr Manmohan Singh came in 2009 for a state visit and this is just the third. So this is a really big deal in the way that the United States treats honoured visitors diplomatically and state visits are reserved for our closest friends."Keshap said US and India have learnt the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and the two nations need to have "secure and stable supply chains" particularly on the deep tech and future tech.

"I think we are doing things differently. If you look at the Initiative on Critical and Eemerging Technologies that we helped launch here at the US Chamber back in January with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and with the two national security advisors, Jake Sullivan and Ajit Doval, that is, to me as important as the nuclear deal. It is as consequential strategically as the nuclear deal. And so we have actually innovated in a very important way, our two governments, our two free societies have learned the lessons of the pandemic and they realise that we have to have secure, stable supply chains, especially on the deep tech and future tech that our free citizens will rely on across the 21st century."USIBC President said that India and US should attain a goal of USD 500 billion in trade and investment. He said that both nations need to take policy measures and initiatives and ensure that the companies work in this direction.

"I think a lot is being done. And I have always articulated that we should attain a goal of USD 500 billion in trade and investment between our two countries. If we do that, that means India's GDP is rising. It means that there's health, wealth and prosperity between both of our free peoples. So we're at about USD 190 billion right now.""We urgently need to get to about USD 500 billion. We need to take the policy steps and initiatives to break through restraints and make sure that our companies and our leading collaborators can work together to get to USD 500 billion. I think we can do it. It requires ambition. It requires vision. It requires dedication by both governments," he added.

PM Modi's visit to the US will underscore the growing importance of the strategic partnership between India and the United States, as the two nations are already collaborating across sectors.

During the visit, PM Modi and US President Joe Biden will have the opportunity to review bilateral cooperation in various areas of mutual interest, including technology, trade, industry, education, research, clean energy, defence, security, healthcare, and deepening people-to-people connections.

PM Modi and President Biden had announced the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) in May 2022 to elevate and expand our strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of our two countries.

The National Security Advisors of the two countries had led the inaugural meeting of the iCET in Washington in January this year. (ANI)

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