Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday said India and US should set a bilateral trade target of $500-600 billion within a stipulated period from the current level of $125 billion. “The US-India bilateral trade is declining for various reasons and we should not be happy with bilateral trade of $125 billion. We must set a clear cut target of $ 500-600 billion in a stipulated period. We are willing to come out with a complete strategy and I’m sure that the companies from both the countries will benefit,” Prabhu said while addressing a conference organised by the US-India Business Council.
Prabhu said India offers lot of opportunities in sectors including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, start-ups and make “India-US partnership greater again” in line with President Trump’s call for “Let’s make US great again”. The geo-politics has changed so much in the last few months that geo-economics is also changing rapidly. “In this context, I see a clear, defined role and responsibility for US and India to work together not just for our mutual benefit but also for the benefit of rest of the world,” Prabhu said. India will become $5 trillion economy in the next 7-8 years and $10 trillion by 2035, he said. India becoming economically strong would only mean, the US has a friend and partner who is stronger than before and strong India will be in the long term interest of the US, he said.
The country’s aviation sector is expected to provide big investment opportunity as it is one of the fastest-growing in the world and has recorded 50 months of double-digit traffic growth. As many as 100 new airports would be built in the next 10 to 15 years for about $ 60 billion, Prabhu said, adding that the country’s infrastructure sector also offers investment opportunity of $ 250 billion every year.
Prabhu also said US and India must have specific programme for sharing information on start-ups from both the countries. Further, he urged the US to join hands with India to explore export opportunities in 54 African nations, where both the US and India can make joint pitch for exports of American and Indian products.
He also urged the US to be partner with India to create new dynamic agenda for the World Trade Organization (WTO). The minister said that the government will announce the new industrial policy soon. The key thrust in the proposed policy, which will replace the Industrial Policy of 1991, is to reduce regulatory hurdles and encourage adoption of technologies of the future such as robotics and artificial intelligence.