CEOs Forum to kick off US-India strategic, commercial dialogue

Washington, Sep 21 (IANS) The US-India CEO Forum meets here Monday to kick off the crucial Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the two countries ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third summit with President Barack Obama next week.

As India and the US have set a goal of increasing their bilateral trade five fold to $500 million in five years, the US Commerce Department is hosting the CEO Forum to increase the role of the private sector in the India-US engagement.

The CEO Forum is the primary mechanism for engaging the US and Indian private sectors and leveraging business leaders’ recommendations to shape policy making discussions.

As part of the CEO Forum, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host an event – US-India Economic Ties: Ready for Takeoff? – on Monday featuring a discussion between US and Indian CEOs on efforts to deepen bilateral economic engagement.

Indian Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker who are leading the commercial side of the dialogue will address the CEOs before their discussion.

Indian CEOs joining the discussion would be Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Biocon, Cyrus P. Mistry, chairman of Tata Sons, and Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises.

From the US side Michael S. Burke, chairman and CEO of AECOM, David M. Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell, and Charles R. Kaye, co-chief executive officer of Warburg Pincus would be participating.

W. James McNerney, Jr., chairman of the board of the Boeing Company, will moderate the discussion.

Later on Monday evening, US Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will headline a conclave of corporate America.

Other high-ranking government officials as also captains of industry from both countries, will also address the US-India Business Council’s 40th Annual Leadership Summit.

The strategic side of the dialogue will begin with a ministerial plenary Tuesday co-chaired by Swaraj and Kerry.

Other engagements include an Energy Dialogue led by Power Minister Piyush Goyal and US Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, an official level Health Dialogue and a meeting of India-US Joint Working Group on Climate Change.

Modi and Obama had decided to expand the existing Strategic Dialogue to the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue during the US President’s January visit to India to reflect the growing significance of the US-India economic relationship.

Modi himself lands in New York on Wednesday, a day after Indian and US teams wrap up the dialogue.

He will be meeting Obama the following Monday in New York after wooing investors in New York and a weekend trip to the Silicon Valley focusing on three key themes of entrepreneurship and innovation, digital economy and renewable energy.

The Sep 28 summit would thus be capping eight days of intense India-US engagement on both political and commercial planes.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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