When top executives of large U.S. companies met with Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar on May 27 under the auspices of the U.S.-India Business Council and the Forum for Strategic Collaboration between the United States and India, in Washington, although they recognized the magnitude of Covid’s second wave of India. 19 pandemic, most of his questions and concerns focused on India’s role in the global economic recovery.
Free from partisan views and aware of the current situation on the ground, they looked beyond the gross number and assessed the economic outlook after the second wave. Most agreed with the minister’s view that given that the closures were local and intermittent and that supply chains were intact, their impact would be much less than last year.
According to diplomats who asked not to be appointed, they had a keen interest in the government’s efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible to get the economy back on track.
Among those attending the meeting were: Ariel Mactavish, President, Respiratory Intervention Operations Unit, Medtronic Inc .; Ken Gilmartin, Executive Vice President, Jacobs Engineering Group; Arvind Krishna, President and CEO of IBM; Raj Subramaniam, President and COO of FedEx; Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture; and Seifi Ghasemi, President and CEO of Air Products.
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U.S. CEOs talked about similar U.S. experiences last year. Many pointed to the logistical effort made by the Indian government, especially with regard to oxygen supply. They stressed that India played a key role as a global vaccine hub in restoring global economic confidence. Apart from the resident population, their large number of expatriates and service personnel, including merchant carriers and airline crew, were relevant globally. Many American companies also had large personnel based in India, whose health was critical to their operations. CEOs also believed that as the vaccine momentum accelerates, connectivity and interaction between the two business communities will be completely restored.
As of Sunday evening, India had completely vaccinated 44.4 million people and partly vaccinated 123.1 million, meaning that almost 18% of the eligible population of 940 million has been vaccinated. On Monday, the government told the Supreme Court that the country would vaccinate all members of the age group by the end of December, which will require a sharp acceleration to 7.75 million doses administered daily for the rest of the year. .
Interestingly, many CEOs provided positive insights from their own company’s comments on the economic recovery. Experts have noted that while the emergence of the second wave coincided with the return to normalcy of the economy, the fact that most states have ensured that manufacturing and other business activities continue through sidewalks. localized can mean less impact.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said on May 5 that data to add to demand due to the second wave was moderate and manufacturing interruptions were minimal compared to the first wave due to localized sidewalks. . And most national and international forecasts expect the economy to grow even more than 10% in 2021-22.
In fact, it was seen as such, as the focus was on India, which hosted more supply chains, to put the world economy at risk. In particular, the minister was asked in detail about performance-related incentive plans (PLIs) to expand manufacturing. Many participants talked about their plans to invest more next year. There was a strong interest in the electronics, digital and healthcare manufacturing sectors.
Washington’s political circles also favored, diplomats added, with the Joe Biden administration providing India with full support in medical equipment, even as they tried to address New Delhi’s concerns over the Indo-Pacific. , as the QUAD group was now prioritized. With regard to China, it has been widely noted that the May 19 meeting between the U.S. and Russian Foreign Ministers led to a US-Russia summit on June 16 in Geneva, while the US-China March 19 meeting between foreign ministers and ANS ended in a slang match. India is a natural beneficiary of better ties between the United States and Russia.