India presents opportunities and challenges to investors: Consul General Amit Kumar

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Consul General of India in Chicago Amit Kumar (Photo: courtesy Indian Consulate)

India’s Consul General in Chicago Amit Kumar delivered the Keynote address in Automation Alley’s virtual conference on “Opportunities and Challenges of Doing Business in India” held Dec. 10, 2020.

The conference aimed at discussing trade and investment opportunities in India and prospects for US companies in India. The audience included high-tech manufacturing companies that would be part of the Automation Alley’s next trade mission to India in April 2021, a press release from the Indian Consulate said.

The trade mission will travel to New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. Companies that will be participating in the trade mission will be from aerospace/defense, automotive, advanced manufacturing (with a focus on industry 4.0), IT/ICT, environmental and pollution control technologies and medical and healthcare sectors.

The event was opened by Noel H. Nevshehir, director of International Business Services and Global Strategic Partnerships, Automation Alley-Troy, Michigan.

Empathizing the growth of the Indian economy Nevshehir referred to the Moody’s, report where India’s GDP is projected to grow 5.8% in 2021 as it emerges from the pandemic and to the World Bank report of 2020 highlighting India’s  jump by 14 spots this year (from 77 to 63) in ease of doing business among 190 countries.

In his keynote Consul General Kumar thanked Automation Alley for directing their efforts and energy in strengthening US-India trade ties. He noted that the bilateral cooperation between India and US is not limited to a few sectors but is broad-based and multi-sectoral.

The growing engagement in important sectors such as defense, energy, trade and investment, cyber-security, education, science & technology, space technology, health and agriculture has steadily reinforced the India US relations in the past two decades, Kumar pointed out.

And while the coronavirus pandemic may have  exposed the fault-lines associated with the current global supply chains, it  has also underscored the need for resilient and reliable partnerships which can withstand shocks and uncertainties, the Consul General emphasized.

According to the press release, the pandemic has negatively impacted bilateral trade as it reduced by 25% in the first half of 2020 compared to the previous year.

However, the bilateral trade with the United States has grown at over 10% annually in the last decade reaching almost 150 billion dollars in 2019.

India has invested close to 22 billion dollars in USA creating more than 125,000 jobs and adding value and innovation to the US economy, noted the Consul General mentioned, also noting  that India remains global in its outlook and therefore is focused on scaling up its national capacities by increasing the competitiveness and quality of Indian manufacturing, creating an enabling business environment, improving its skill sets and better integrating with global value chains.

This is the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative (self-reliant India) introduced by the Government of India, he said.

India should be seen as a dependable partner in global markets as it takes forward the process of structural reforms of the last six years.

New Delhi’s “bold holistic reforms” are aimed at opening up sectors like defense, coal and mineral mining, space, atomic energy, power distribution, social infrastructure sectors to name a few, the Consul General pointed out.

Foreign Direct Investment norms have been liberalized across 21 sectors; a new National Education Policy is being implemented; supply chain reforms are being put in place for agriculture, rational tax system introduced, labor reforms being carried out, and simple and transparent laws have been put in place, he said.

Other speakers at the event included Supriya Kanetkar and Sushama Kanetkar, directors of SRK and Associates-Bengaluru, India. The duo gave an overview of the current business environment in India, how Covid has impacted Indian economy, what are the anticipated market opportunities for Michigan exporters in India in 2021 and how to access those opportunities.

Rophin Paul, executive vice president at PARI Robotics Inc. & member of the Management Board noted that his was the first Indian international company in the Michigan region and today has over 1,200 employees worldwide with its head office in India and wholly owned subsidiaries in the USA and Europe. Paul also shared the experience of doing business in India from USA.

International Trade Development Manager, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Jacob Schroeder, elaborated on how MEDC supports companies in Michigan for their overseas business.

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