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CEOs Forum to foster Indo-US economic partnership

By Lalit K Jha
June 22, 2010 13:41 IST
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Top chief executive officers of India and the US are slated to do some brainstorming on Tuesday to come up with a set of proposals, which officials and corporate leaders of both the countries, say, would help in taking the Indo-US business ties to the next level.

The CEOs Forum, which was reconstituted on the eve of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's State visit to Washington last year, is having its second meeting - the first this year.

"When this forum was rejuvenated during the visit of our prime minister in November last year and after identifying areas where India and the USA could co-operate and work together closely, both President (Barack) Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, identified and mandated the CEOs Forum to work," said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"Tomorrow, we would be having the opportunity of reviewing the identified areas where deficiencies exits and how to improve those deficiencies," Mukherjee told a group of Indian and American CEOs at an interactive session organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry on the eve of the crucial meeting of the Indo-US CEOs Forum.

Mukherjee, who arrived in Washington on Monday, would be leading the official Indian delegation to the CEOs Forum meeting.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia would also attend the meeting.

Top officials from the Obama administration including the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are expected to attend the CEOs Forum meeting to be held at the State Department.

"There are some big, bold recommendations, that are going to take courage on both sides," President of the US India Business Council (USIBC) Ron Somers, who has been interacting with the CEOs on both sides, told PTI.

"It is our duty as industry to be making certain that our governments propel the relationship to the next level. It is exciting and we want to be supportive," Somers said ahead of the meeting.

"We are talking major collaboration in the area of health care that I think is going to be the kind of transformational project that captures the imagination of both societies,"

Somers said.

"On the Indian side, we are hopeful that the Monsoon Parliament can open the education sector for foreign investment and lift the FDI cap in insurance," said the USIBC president.

The reconstituted CEOs Forum is co-chaired by the Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata and chairman of Fortune 500 Honeywell David Cote.

Indian corporate leaders in the CEO Forum include Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and CEO of Bharti Enterprise; SBI chairman, O P Bhatt; Venu Srinivisan of the TVS Motors; S Gopalarishnan from Infosys; Chanda Kochhar MD & CEO of ICICI Bank; Preetha Reddy MD of Apollo Hospitals; and Reliance's Mukesh Ambani.

Among others are Biocon chairperson & MD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw; Analjit Singh of Max India; Deepak Parikh from HDFC and Ashok Ganguly, chairman of the Firtssource Solutions Limited and ABP Private Limited.

The American members of the CEOs Forum include the Citi Groups CEO Vikram Pandit and Indra Nooyi of Pepsico, Louis ChĂȘnevert from United Technologies, Mike Splinter of Applied Materials; Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemicals; Jamie Dimon of the J P Morgan Chase; Terry McGraw III of the McGrow Hill; Charles O Holliday Jr of Dupont; and Paul Jacobs of Qualcumm.

A spokesman of Dow told PTI that Liveris would not be attending the CEOs Forum meeting because of his prior engagements.
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