US and India to work together in areas including education among others

Indian Ambassador of US speaks on the potential of India and the USA to work together on areas like defense, education, healthcare and IT.

US and India to work together in areas including education among others India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu. (Picture: Shutterstock)
Press Trust of India | Oct 17, 2022 - 8:31 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Areas like renewable energy, healthcare and education and knowledge offer huge potential for the US and India to work together, India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said on Monday. The intensity of engagements between the two sides in different areas was set to deepen, he said.

Sandhu was speaking at an event, which CII in partnership with the Punjab government, had organised under the Government of India's heads of mission programme. At the event, India's Ambassadors to the Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, Mongolia and Togo were also present. At the outset, Taranjit Sandhu also made a mention of recent visits of India's external affairs minister, finance minister, minister of petroleum and natural gas, science and technology minister to the US.

"There is an India-US trade policy forum which is again going to meet in November. The Commerce Minister is visiting," he informed. Of course, there is a lot of concern worldwide including in India with the oncoming recession. But there is also the necessity of reliable supply chains, he said.

Defense and Education

He said there is a whole lot of potential for the US and India to work together and pointed out that there is a huge potential for Punjab too to benefit. Touching upon strategic and defense relations between US and India, he said in the last few years these have developed much more. In 1997, defense trade was almost negligible, today it stands above USD 20 billion. Pointing to another area, he said knowledge and education partnership is very critical. "I think one of the most important challenges in India today we face is to skill the young," he said while adding there is a big potential for our young if we can adequately skill them. On the energy sector, he said energy today is a major challenge world over.

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On Healthcare and Technology

He added that there is a lot of potential for the two nations to work together. The third important sector is healthcare, which has become even more important because of Covid. India provides at least 55 per cent of the generic drugs in the United States. India can be an important partner for the US health industry, he said, while pointing out how collaboration in vaccine manufacturing help bring down costs, which also benefits countries like Africa, Latin America, Indo-Pacific.

"There is a great potential for this partnership, an example of how in healthcare we can work together," he said. Besides, the Ambassador also touched upon areas like digital and IT, start-ups, innovation, and new emerging technologies including cyber security, an area offering big potential. "There is a whole lot of work which is being done between the United States and India," he said. "If you look at any of our joint statements in the last one year, you will see when Prime Minister Modi and President Biden had met, new and emerging technologies are very much mentioned there," said Sandhu.

Potential benefits to Punjab

He also mentioned that there was a scope to further boost the bilateral trade which has crossed USD 160 billion. On Punjab, he said, "We were talking to Punjab chief secretary that you have to lay out a red carpet, then only international capital comes in. If we are to be part of a reliable chain, which India is becoming much more, and if Punjab wants to play an important role, perhaps initiatives can be taken," he said.

The Ambassador also touched upon visa issues, which External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar too had raised during his recent visit. Jaishankar had raised the issue of the huge backlog of U.S. visa applications from India with Secretary of State Antony Blinken to which the top American diplomat had said he is sensitive to the matter and has a plan to address it. Indians make up a large proportion of the recipients of H-1B and other work visas granted to skilled foreign workers, many in the tech industry. Sandhu said, "I am aware that there are a whole lot of problems which is being faced with short-term and long-term visas right now. We have taken it up.."

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