Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, Mukesh Aghi, President and Chief Executive Officer of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, on Monday (local time) said that India and the US are getting over the suspiciousness of each other.
While speaking to ANI, Mukesh Aghi said that they are witnessing a much more “concrete, deeper and broader relationship” coming up between India and US.
Aghi said that India is taking an independent position at international forums. However, he noted that India also supports the US position. He also recalled PM Modi’s address to the joint session of the Congress.
In response to a question regarding the change in India-US ties over the years, he said, “Well, when Prime Minister spoke for the first time to a joint session of the Congress, he said we need to overcome the hesitation of history. And I think what we are seeing is both sides are coming, getting over the suspiciousness of each other.”
We had in India 1998 sanctions and India couldn’t bring in a lot of those technologies. Now we’re seeing a lot of those technologies moving to India. We are seeing India stepping up in the international forum, taking an independent position, but it also supports the US position also. So, I think we are seeing a much more concrete, deeper and broader relationship coming up, he added.
Aghi said that India is looking for a transfer of technology and they do expect something on General Electric engines where a deal will happen. He said that the US is looking to create more jobs and they expect some orders on defence equipment from India.
Speaking to ANI regarding Modi’s visit to the US, Mukesh Aghi said, “Well, I think you can break this down with three broad categories. One is geopolitics. The second is on the economic side. And the third is on technology. So when you look at the concrete deliverables, obviously US is looking to create more jobs in the US. So we do expect some orders on defence equipment coming from the India side. So, it kind of helps US companies from a job creation perspective.”
He further said, from a job creation perspective, India is looking for transfer of technology. So we do expect something on GE engines where a deal will happen, where India can make GE jet engines in India. So, if that happens, then India will be the fifth country in the world making hot engines for planes.
Aghi said that US and India are aligned to deal with China. Speaking to ANI, he said, “Then on the geopolitics side, I think it’s about messaging. The US-India are aligned to deal with the aggressive, assertive China. And I think that’s where you see as strong messaging coming in, both by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi right now.”
He said that India needs to have technology to deal with China. He said that they are witnessing the Biden administration agreeing to transfer some technology to India so that they can manufacture and it becomes self-reliant in the defence sector.
Responding about China being a common thread that is binding Republicans and Democrats, he said, “Well, you have to understand from an India perspective, it shares a 3000-kilometre-long border with China, which China doesn’t agree with the border itself. India has to deal with the aggressive China, basically a dominant China. We’ve had soldiers killed on both sides of the border itself.”
He further said, “So, India needs to have technology. It needs to have enough resources to deal with that assertive posture of China. India’s supply from Russia is drying out. So, it needs other sources and is focused on building most of those stuff in India. So, what we are seeing is the Biden administration agreeing to transfer some complex technology to India so you can manufacture, and India becomes a self-reliant defence area. So, yes, there is an alignment on the positioning posture of China and how to deal with China.”
Speaking about the Kennedy Center event set to be held on June 23, Mukesh Aghi said, “Well, one of the pillars of the relationship is economy. It is about de-risking US companies from China. It is about getting to a newer, larger market, which is India. So, what we’re seeing is most of the US companies are looking at how do you de-risk your supply chain and have a China plus one strategy and India plays a pivotal role in that area.”
India also with 1.4 billion people, is a large market. It’s going to grow as the spending power goes up in India. So I think those companies are looking at having India as a potential market. And a classic example is Apple. Apple three years ago didn’t produce anything in India, and the next day, it’s going to produce 20 million iPhone 14. But, it is also its fastest growing market in the world itself. So, there are market opportunity, trade opportunity, their economic investment opportunity, and that’s a win-win for both countries, he added.
Aghi said that Indian-Americans are the “most affluent minority group” from US President Joe Biden’s perspective. He said that Indian-Americans are the “most educated” and they participate in the civic society quite efficiently. Around 7000 Indian-American community will be welcoming PM Modi at the South Lawn.
Responding to a question regarding the importance given to Indo-Americans, he said, “Well, you have to look at from President Biden’s perspective, Indian Americans are the most affluent minority group. They are the most educated and they participate in civic society quite efficiently itself and from a Biden campaign perspective, if you can get contribution coming into a political campaign, it’s a winning factor. If you can get them voting in the swing state, it has an impact on the electoral college itself. So from that perspective, I think it is a strong motive from Biden to get almost 5 million Indian Americans on its cap side.”
He further said, “When you look at from Prime Minister Modi’s perspective, you have to understand there are 35 billion Indians who live outside India and if they look at their GDP, it’s almost 50 per cent of India’s GDP. So, they are a vital source of investment, technology and influence. So, I think Prime Minister Modi caters to that successfully. And what we have seen is every time he goes to a country, that country’s investment in India spikes up dramatically. So, it is a win-win for both President and the Prime Minister to cater to Indian Americans.” (ANI)