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US-India CEO Forum to kick off Strategic & Commercial Dialogue

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Washington:  In order to discuss the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the two countries, US-India CEO Forum meets here on Monday prior to 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.

With inputs from IANS

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)

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