After partnering the Vibrant Gujarat for two consecutive editions, United States has refused to be a partner country for upcoming edition of summit that is scheduled to be held from January 18-20, 2019. Ten countries including Japan and Canada have already confirmed to be partner countries for the summit.
A senior state government official from the Industries and Mines department confirmed that United States had dropped out as “partner country” from the summit which will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 18. When quizzed about the reason, the official said that US wanted to restrict itself to events associated directly with the Government of India.
This denial from the United States comes despite a high-level delegation from the Gujarat government headed by Arvind Agarwal, additional chief secretary, finance department travelling to the United States in October 2017 in connection with the summit. The delegation had held roadshows, visited cities like New York, Chicago and Washington DC to attract investors for the event.
Even in the run-up to the Vibrant summit held in 2017, citing elections in the United Sates, officials had expressed disinterest in partnering with the state government for the summit. However, later the Americans joined in. The US began partnering the Vibrant summit in 2015 after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. The same year, US Secretary of State John Kerry had visited Gandhinagar and spoke at the inaugural event.
With US dropping out, Japan, Canada, France, South Korea, Denmark, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Thailand, Uzbekistan and UAE will be partner countries for the 2019 edition. “United States is however participating in the country seminars organised at the Vibrant summit,” the state government official said. Business advocacy organisations from the United States like USIBC (US-India Business Council) and US-India Strategic and Partners Forum (USISPF) will be partner organisation and will be attending the upcoming ninth edition of the summit. John Chambers chairman of USISPF is scheduled to lead a delegation of over 25 global business leaders and top American universities for the Vibrant summit. Senior state government officials also pointed out that a number of MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) are in line to be signed with the visiting delegation from the US.
Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, JETRO (Japan External Trade Organisation) and Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) are among the other organisations partnering the summit this time. In the 2017 edition of the summit, 12 countries had agreed to be partner countries.