July 08, 2020
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A Meeting Of Equals

Half-an-hour after Clinton's address at Hyderabad's Hitec City on Friday, this was CII director-general Tarun Das' exuberant take on it

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A Meeting Of Equals

This meeting has achieved more than what had been in the past two days. There was a great chemistry between the US and India at the meeting which turned out to be the largest business event in India so far. We had over 2,000 people, including industry captains like Narayana Murthy, Ratan Tata, Ajay Piramal, Ramalinga Raju, Pratap Reddy, Krishna Kumar and Rajan Nanda.

Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu made an outstanding presentation on what India has achieved and what it wants to achieve and was applauded repeatedly by the president and his team. In reply, Clinton moved away from his written speech to respond to the presentation and said the US was ready to partner India’s progress.

Rahul Bajaj made a commitment on behalf of Indian industry to follow through on the visit and implement the ideas that have come up during the meeting.

On the suggestion of the US president and his team, an expert group has been set up today to study the technology-based industries and developments as well as the requirements of India. Chaired by Narayana Murthy, this group will submit its report to the US government by September before the president leaves office. Clinton promised to follow up on the findings and do the needful.

It is beyond doubt that the perception of American businessmen of India has changed drastically in the positive direction. Our capabilities, our IT sector, our progress and developments in the field of science and technology are now being recognised by the world.

The important achievement, however, is the change in the way we have dealt with the US and this is something no one has noticed. This could be one of the most important aspects of the visit. Earlier, we used to seek investment/aid from foreign delegations, especially the US. But now there is a complete reversal. We have become more aggressive.

There is a new inter-dependence between the two countries; they need us as much as we need them. There was no talk of inward investment today. Rather than they dipping their fingers into our pie, it is India which is doing that. We are now ready to eat their pie. It is Indian industry which is seeking to invest there. The situation has changed. Now we will invest in the US and we will take over their companies. And that is what was being talked about today.

The infotech exposition built up by Naidu and cii was highly appreciated. Clinton spent 45 minutes against his scheduled 25 minutes there. He showed special interest in India’s greenhouse projects and expressed the US’ willingness to collaborate and work jointly in this field. He said that India’s efforts to become a global leader should combine community with entrepreneurship. We need 25-year-old entrepreneurs and billionaires but we also need to take the community along with it and develop knowledge among them. There was not a single negative comment about India.

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