Source: Times of India
NEW DELHI: Ahead of President Barack Obama’s arrival in New Delhi, the US and India are working up momentum in bilateral engagements to ensure the visit is a success. Sources here said the two countries are holding several senior official-level meetings to work out outcomes for a “fruitful” Obama visit with a special focus on removing hurdles that have choked investments into India.
Two of these meetings are related to infrastructure and investment initiatives. The India-US infrastructure collaboration platform meeting is already underway here and simultaneously another meeting is taking place under the India-US Investment Initiative in Washington.
Announced by Obama and PM Narendra Modi after their meeting last year in September, the US-India Investment Initiative is expected to facilitate steady flow of investments into India but will also focus on capital market reforms.
As this paper had reported on Monday, ?India has agreed to restart negotiations for a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) which is expected to lure more investments into India from US companies. The US has been pushing India for BIT to ensure more transparency and accountability and also to guarantee protection for intellectual property rights (IPRs).
Secretary of state John Kerry again took up the issue with PM Narendra Modi during their meeting on the side lines of the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Gandhinagar. Modi assured Kerry that India was willing to restart talks for BIT at the earliest. The last time India and the US held talks for BIT was in February 2014.
The US-India Business council (USIBC) has welcomed the decision to revive BIT saying it would significantly increase investment flows. “USIBC is delighted to know that the BIT was discussed between Prime Minister Modi and Secretary Kerry at Vibrant Gujarat. When making investment decisions, companies need an environment that is predictable, transparent and consistent,” said the agency in a statement.