NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sept. 3 said that 1.3 billion Indians have embarked on one mission – to make an "Aatmanirbhar Bharat," which seeks to merge the local with the global and ensure India's strengths act as a global force multiplier.

"Time and time again, India has shown that our goal is global good," he said in his special keynote address at the third leadership summit of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum.

Modi also said that Aatamanirbhar Bharat is about transforming India from being just a passive market to an active manufacturing hub at the heart of global value chains.

"The road further ahead is full of opportunities. These opportunities are in the public and private sector. They cover core economic sectors as well as the social sectors," he said.

On the COVID-19 pandemic, the prime minister said that India was among the first in creating a responsive system of lockdowns.

"India was among the first to advocate the use of masks and face covering as a public health measure. We were also among the earliest to create public awareness campaigns about social distancing," he said.

Modi also emphasized that medical infrastructure, be it COVID hospitals, ICU capacities and more, was scaled up in record time. "Starting from 1 COVID testing lab in January, we now have around 1,600 labs across the country," he noted.

He also stressed that the current situation demands a fresh mind set, where "the approach to development is human-centric."

"While looking at the way ahead, we should keep our focus on ramping up our capacities, securing the poor, future-proofing our citizens. This is the path India is taking," he said.

Modi also said that this pandemic has also shown the world that the decision on developing global supply chains should be based not only on costs, but also on trust.

"Along with affordability of geography, companies are now also looking for reliability and policy stability," he said.

Also laying stress on the tax regime, he said that India offers a transparent and predictable tax regime, and its system "encourages and supports honest tax payers."

USISPF, a non-profit organization, is organizing a weeklong summit on U.S.-India ties and it has witnessed participation of top political and corporate leaders from the two countries.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated in a session Aug. 31, while Railways Minister Piyush Goyal addressed the summit Sept. 1.

In addition, Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan and Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat have also participated.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal Sept. 1 said that India is ready to sign an initial limited trade package with the United States.

Addressing the USISPF through a virtual conference, Goyal said India is ready to sign an initial limited trade package, and it is up to the U.S. to move ahead.

He invited U.S. business and industry to work with their Indian counterparts to take the bilateral trade to "greater heights."

He said that the two democracies share a deep commitment to each other, at the government, business and people to people levels. 

Besides, he said, that going beyond trade in this interconnected world the two nations can be the resilient trusted partners in the global value chain.

Goyal outlined to the members of USISPF the steps being undertaken in the country to facilitate industry and investments. 

He said that a GIS-enabled land bank has been launched on a pilot basis, with six states on board, which will help the investors in identifying the land and location. 

The minister also mentioned about the single-window system for clearances, which is being developed in cooperation with various approving authorities and agencies at the Central, State and Municipal levels. 

He said that the road ahead has challenges but also a number of opportunities.

Goyal said that economic activity in the country had suffered due to the pandemic but there have been indications of sharp revivals. 

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the only chief minister to be invited to the USISPF’s third leadership summit, Sept. 4 said that Gujarat presented great opportunities for the U.S. companies and was developing facilities for the pharmaceutical sector in the state.

He invited the U.S. API companies to invest in Gujarat and tie-up with Indian pharmaceutical companies.

Speaking at the five-day special public session on “Navigating New Challenges” Rupani said, "Gujarat presents great opportunities to the U.S. companies. We are developing robust infrastructural facilities for pharmaceutical sector in the form of a Bulk Drug Park in Bharuch and Medical Device Park near Rajkot."

The special public session was hosted by the USISPF to focus on the investment opportunities in Gujarat.

"I invite the startups in U.S. and Gujarat to join hands and start a formalized startup engagement program to develop business ecosystems in diverse areas like semi-conductors, electronics and e-vehicles," the chief minister said.

"The state government will appoint a senior nodal officer from the Chief Minister's Office to facilitate American companies to partner with Gujarat," Rupani said.

The CM said that Gujarat was open for tie-ups in life sciences, defense, petrochemicals, clean energy, warehousing and logistics apart from the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors.

The CM in his address to the session mentioned that the government had recently released the New Industrial Policy 2020, with provisions like relocation benefits for companies moving from outside Gujarat especially from other countries. 

"In a bold move, the GST regime has been done away with in the new policy and instead we have given incentives on Fixed Capital Investment. The policy also avails land on a long-term lease," Rupani added.

Modi, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Sandhu, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross as well as John Chamber of JC2 Venture were some of the keynote speakers at the weeklong virtual summit.

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