FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum 2017 fcusses On “India And United States: Partners In Progress”

FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum was held on July 14th, 2017 at the Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue as part of the IIFA Weekend and Awards in New York. Supported by Consulate General of India- New York, Asia Society and US-India Business Council (USIBC), the Business Forum was an initiative which began in 2005 and has grown into a global platform which has in threw past hosted international leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair of UK, President Mahindra Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka and a number of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

A stronger partnership in dealing with counter-terrorism will give an impetus to India-US relations, US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has said. “The number of military-to-military engagement and exercises between US and India exceeds any other partner in the region and it is only continuing to grow,” the Hawaiian Democrat said at a Ficci-IIFA Global Business Forum here on Friday.

Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the Congress, was in conversation with the Indian envoy to the US, Navtej Sarna, at the event.

They discussed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US last month to meet President Donald Trump and how opportunities must be explored to further strengthen ties between the two countries. Stressing the need to boost counter-terrorism, Gabbard said: “There is a recognition of the benefit to continuing to strengthen the partnership and engagement, to ensure the countries are stable and that we deal with unconventional counter-terror threats together… Because then we will be stronger.”

Sarna pointed out at the ongoing Malabar joint naval exercise, which is aimed at enhancing interoperability between the navies of India, US and Japan. “Aircraft carriers from India and US are exercising together with submarines. This year, India has been designated as a major defence partner by the US… We need to fight this together, and we appreciate the personal reactions we got on the recent attack on pilgrims in India,” he added.

Gabbard also said there’s still a lot of excitement in Washington around Modi’s visit. “For those of us on the India-US Caucus and those who have been working on India-US partnership for years, everyone is saying it that these are the most exciting times for friendship between both the countries.

She mentioned that economic partnerships were flourishing and so too were relationships in technology, education, culture and the Arts. “Having the IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) celebrations here is appropriate given how much interest not just the Indian-American audience has, but the Americans as a whole have in films coming from India. This is increasing the understanding and affinity between the people of the two countries,” she said.

Sarna appreciated how the support for India-US engagement is “bipartisan and across the political spectrum”. He even said that during Modi’s visit to meet Trump, they “hit it off in terms of understanding, engaging each other and listening to each other’s concerns”.

Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor talked about the Globalization of Indian Cinema and Media, as part of the FICCI-IIFA Business Forum, at the Asia Society. After praising the diversity of New York, Kapoor said that with digitization, the world is becoming a smaller place. “Just sitting at home, in Mumbai, you can reach out to the world,” he said, also emphasizing how important digitization has become for Indian cinema and its media as everything can be uploaded and sent immediately.

In a fireside chat with Viacom 18 CEO Sudhanshu Vats, Kapoor explained his journey of working on the sets of the show 24 when he was here. “I was here for six months and I shot for 24 over here so I had a very day-to-day experience over here where I met from the writers, to the directors, to the actors, to the prop managers; from the top to the bottom, how they worked,” he said.

FICCI- IIFA Global Business Forum, the annual one-day event has been a major highlight of the IIFA Weekend And Awards, solidifying the business ties between India and its significant trade and investment partners. This year, the Global Business Forum 2017 will focus on the theme “India and United States: Partners in Progress”, with discussions on India- US commercial relations, with panel sessions focusing on key aspects of the relationship:  The future of India-US Economic Partnership, Defense and Security, Manufacturing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Media & Entertainment.

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