India and the US will require a partnership on healthcare that goes beyond Covid-19 and addresses intellectual property, pricing and market access issues, said Nisha Biswal, President, US India Business Council (USIBC).
This will enable American and Indian companies to work together to develop and produce new medicines, vaccines and medical technology that can help overcome the Covid-19 virus as well as countless other health challenges facing our world, Biswal said while delivering the annual Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture on foreign policy on Friday.
“The coming days and months will be deeply challenging for both countries. The US and India will each have to deploy a tremendous amount of attention and resources to stem the spread of Covid, while deploying approved vaccines across its broad geographies. Each country will have to be bold in rebuilding our economies,” she said. We will need to be attentive to the dangerous currents in the Indo-Pacific to ensure that the region continues to be peaceful, she added.
Delivering his opening remarks at the lecture, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said Vajpayee had an intuitive understanding that the post-Cold War world require India to drastically rework its relationships and interests. This vision led to a new beginning with the US that has since been developed by successive governments on both sides.
“Atalji’s vision of India-US cooperation has been advanced, particularly in recent years, by the leadership and commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Overcoming the hesitations of history, we are today focused on addressing contemporary challenges and emerging opportunities,” he said.
Despite the fact that India and the US have not been able to conclude even a small trade agreement, the two countries have seen the promise of a growing economic partnership drive greater bilateral trade and investment, Biswal said.
Two-way trade and investment has reached $146 billion, an increase of nearly $50 billion in five years. India was the fastest growing large economy in the world for five years between 2015 and 2019, averaging about 7 per cent growth per year, which is more than China. US investors recognised this, so that, by the end of the period, FDI in India from the US hit a record high of $4.2 billion in 2019-20 according to the DPIIT statistics, she pointed out.
“We in the business community are ready to do our part to help usher in the investment, build the factories and generate the opportunities that can expand the circle of opportunity and create inclusive growth that can lift people out of poverty in both countries,” Biswal said.