Updated: September 28, 2014 4:15:07 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit will mark a new era in bilateral relations between the two nations especially on the economic front, said Frank Islam, Member of Industry Trade Advisory Committee in the Obama Administration.
“I strongly believe PM Modi’s visit will kick-start a new era in the relations, especially on the economic front. I definitely think Modi’s visit will strengthen the bilateral relations,” Frank, who also serve on the Board of Trustees of the Kennedy Center, told PTI through email.
Born in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh and raised in Aligarh, Frank said the past couple of years have not been “very smooth”.
“The US, especially American businesses, have been dismayed by the pace and direction of the economic reform in India in the past two to three years. Many in Washington feel that, on the reforms front, India has regressed, especially in the last year of the Manmohan Singh government,” he said.
“There is also a feeling that US companies got nothing from India despite America offering the historic nuclear deal. The Devyani Khobragade issue was another sad chapter in the US-India relations in the past couple of years. Everyone agrees that the issue was not handled properly,” he added.
Frank said that since Modi has come to power things have changed for better.
“Modi has been known as a pro-business leader. He has a long track record of that in Gujarat. Even though on the economy, he hasn’t announced any radical measures so far, many here think his heart is in the right place,” he said.
On the future of Indo-US relationship, he said, “In the past two decades, relations have been driven mostly by the business communities in both countries. They will continue to – only thing is they need support from the leaderships in both countries.”
Frank said that in his opinion both the sides should focus on solving their differences on economic issues.
“India should intellectually and emotionally embrace economic reforms, rather than doing it reluctantly, as it has been doing it so far. It should address the lack of infrastructure and difficulties in acquiring land for infrastructure,” he said on the issues which need more focus during the PM’s visit.
He added there was a lot of scope for cooperation in different fields like national security, education, healthcare, agriculture and energy.
“The two countries are already cooperating on all these issues. But more can and should be done,” he said. Frank, who owns FI Investment Group in US, said he commend Modi for his remarks about Muslims in India.
“In an interview Modi had said that Indian Muslims will live and die for India. I agree with him and I commend him because he firmly believes there should be no division based on caste,” he said.
“I would like Modi to give Indian Muslim youth hope and hand and ladders of opportunity to succeed. He needs to empower them with education which will give them dignity and respect and give them powerful equalizer to lift them out of poverty,” Frank said on what he would do if had an opportunity to talk to Modi.
As far as his birth place Azamgarh is concerned he said, “I would like to establish a vocational school in the memory of my mother in Azamgarh, so that we can create a 21st century workforce there.”
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