India-US relationship is "rock solid" but there are challenges in the field of economic ties that must be addressed quickly, a US lawmaker has said.
Congressman Joe Crowley, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans said this in his address at a fund-raising gala for Pratham, a Mumbai-based not-for-profit organisation.
"India US relationship is rock solid as long as we make sure, we mind the gaps. Our security relationship is strong and is growing stronger. Our trade relationship is broadly balanced. Our people to people ties could hardly be stronger. And the exchange of ideas between the two countries is almost faster than the internet itself," he said.
"But still the gaps are there. One set of challenges that has raised its head in the past six months is in the realm of commercial ties. There are barriers to US investment in India. We hope continue to see those barriers addressed. We do not want commercial issues to undermine the progress that has been achieved elsewhere," Crowley said.
In his key note address, Arvind Subramanian, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Center for Global Development, agreed with Crowley on the increasing frustration in the Congress and the companies over Indian economic policies and the pace of reforms.
"What we have seen in the last two years that the growth has really slowed down considerably. The Indian economy is not doing very well at this stage. India is in a period of bit of a funk. Outsiders have also become quite frustrated with India," he said.
"Most foreign businesses are very frustrated at the pace of reform in India and the kind of obstacles we throw up to overseas investment in India. This is the investment that India badly needs and the kind of scoring self-goals by these policies," he said.
"As such there is quite a bit of frustration in the Congress about India," Subramanian said.
Dinyar Devitre, former CFO of Altria Group, and Rukmini Banerji, director of Pratham ACER Center, were the other eminent speakers at the gala, attended by 200 leaders from the business community, World Bank, USAID, the Gates Foundation and individual philanthropists.
Pratham, which means "first" in Sanskrit, began its work in the slums of Mumbai in 1994 where it was established as a Public Charitable Trust in 1994 by the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, UNICEF and several prominent citizens of India.