There are many positive developments that have unfolded in recent days that can impact the Indo -US economic
partnership. Foremost is the conclusion of the Indo-US Food Security agreement, which can herald the earliest signing of a
trade facilitation agreement under the WTO. After a long spell of impasse, the multilateral trade negotiations will be
resumed in the right earnest. The bonhomie at the G20meeting in Brisbane, where India was an active participant, is an
indication of the resolution of the WTO contracting parties to forget the past and seize the opportunities that are
unfolding in world trade. The coming months will witness some solid initiatives in this regard.
A related development is the consensus reached by the US and China to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. The
pledge by the US of USD 3 billion towards Green Climate Fund (GCF), in particul ar, signals the importance that is being
accorded to climate change. India’s hope is that the GCF will be increasingly committed to enabling developing countries
like India to access state-of-the-art technologies to abate pollution.
Education is emerging as a sector that is further strengthening the bilateral relationship between India and the US. The
enrollment of Indians in the US schools, colleges and technical institutes has gone up by 28 percent. Indian students make
up the second largest foreign contingent in the US after China, contributing to a sizeable portion of its revenue for the
sector. Yet, the cherished goal of India to emerge as a regional hub for education, despite its huge network of schools of
higher learning still remains to be a far cry. Our cooperation in education sector has to show more seriousness in terms of
exchange of faculties and sharing of information and networking among the top universities. There is no denial that some
of the leading universities in US have expressed their desire to have off campuses in India to cater to the educational
needs of not only Indians but also for the students from the developing world, who cannot afford higher cost in the US
cities. Legislations that bar setting up of such institutions must be amended to take the conversation forward.
Recently, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stressed the need for accelerating India’s services exports to offset the
increasing deficit in the merchandizetrade. He had identified some low lying fruits likehea lthcare, legal services, research
and development, financial services etc. which can be easily and conveniently tapped to up the services exports from the
country. At the same time, India’s traditional strength in ITand ITES has to be consolidated since this segment was the first
to be exploited and has catapulted services exports fromthe country froma fewmillion dollars some two decades back to
US$ 151 billion. The government should address some of the irritants likevisa regulation to enable India to accelerate the
services exports to the US.