During the Covid-19 pandemic, India and the US played a critical role in supporting each other, New Delhi’s top envoy in Washington Taranjit Singh Sandhu has said.
Over the last two years, there has been a tremendous challenge due to the disruption in global supply chains and like the US, India has also been affected, he said in his address to the Indiana Economic Summit in Indianapolis.
However, through careful policies and a concerted focus on rebuilding their capabilities, they have managed to emerge from the pandemic stronger, Sandhu said this week.
“During this period, India and the US played a critical role in supporting each other,” the Indian envoy said.
This was particularly so in health supply chains where India supplied critical medicines and personal protective equipment to the US in 2020, Sandhu said.
“We supplied nearly two million masks to Philadelphia. The US reciprocated with vaccine and drug components during the second Delta wave in India in 2021. India demonstrated that it was a reliable supply chain partner to the US even in difficult circumstances.
“Domestically, we are building strength through improving the Ease of Doing Business, removing barriers to foreign investment, reforming the tax and incentive structure, and fostering innovation. In fact, India is perhaps the only country, which has come out with bold economic reforms during the pandemic. It is only a matter of time before we become the world’s third largest economy,” he said.
On his maiden visit to Indiana as India’s Ambassador, Sandhu not only had meetings with the top government officials but also had interaction with the students and academics of the prestigious Perdue University and eminent members of the Indian-American community.
He also visited a local gurdwara in Indiana and interacted with the Sikh community. His community reception among others was attended by state-level officials and also from neighbouring Ohio including its young Hindu State Senator Niraj Atani.
“From India to Indiana, our partnerships have only just begun!” Sandhu said, reflecting on the key role that Indiana is playing in the bilateral relationship.
Indiana’s bilateral trade now is over USD 1 billion. Indiana Governor Eric J Holcomb is probably the only American governor to have visited India twice in 2017 and 2019.
In 2019, he also had a meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Governor and the Ambassador had a focused interaction highlighting the economic and commercial ties between India and the US.
They noted the investments made by Indian companies in Indiana including Infosys. Indian companies provide several thousand jobs in Indiana. Similarly, several Indiana companies have invested in India.
“We had a substantive discussion on our deepening partnership in healthcare, digital/IT and education,” Sandhu tweeted.
Sandhu, during his Indiana visit, also had meetings with CEOs of Cummins, Ely Lilly, and Elanco, wherein they discussed issues in terms of attracting investments in India.
“This week, I visited the impressive campus of” Purdue University, Sandhu tweeted, adding that he was delighted to meet with leading faculty members, working on cutting edge science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas and learn about their close partnership with Indian institutions.
After a meeting with Senator Todd Young, the Ambassador in a tweet described him as a friend of India.
“His work to strengthen India-US strategic partnership and to support community is deeply appreciated,” Sandhu said. In Indiana, Sandhu also met tech icon and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
“Discussed the limitless possibilities in tech, innovation and education. Thanked him for administering the unique Quad STEM Fellowships,” he said.
Describing his visit to the Infosys campus in Indiana as impressive, Sandhu said the IT giant has state-of-the-art facilities in Indianapolis, sharpening the US competitive edge, innovating on the next generation of technologies, and adding value to local communities.
In his meetings and public address, Sandhu underscored that domestically, India is building strength through improving the Ease of Doing Business, removing barriers to foreign investment, reforming the tax and incentive structure, and fostering innovation.
“In fact, India is perhaps the only country, which has come out with bold economic reforms during the pandemic. It is only a matter of time before we become the world’s third largest economy,” he added.