US Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who recently led his first trade mission to India, wants America to "deepen and broaden its commercial engagement with India where the win-win potential is vast."
"The only way we will accomplish that is through a foundation of strong person-to-person relationships," he said in an address at the Centre for Strategic & International Studies, a Washington think tank.
"All of us must work together to build those bridges," Bryson said calling on "people throughout the federal government and the private sector" and "Indian-American citizens as a whole-a population which grew nearly 70% from 2000 to 2010."
But, the US official said, the US still had "challenges in regards to transparency, accountability and openness in India.
Though New Delhi "has taken important steps such as supporting the use of integrity pacts by contractors and ratifying the U.N. convention against corruption", the US has "continued concerns with everything from high tariffs, to intellectual property to forced local sourcing in IT and electronics.
"It's clear that we still have hurdles to overcome, but-after this trade mission-I believe more than ever that we can indeed overcome them," Bryson said.
Noting that as a result of increased demand for innovative products and services, US exports to India had risen from less than $4 billion in 2001 to over $21 billion last year, he said: "Today, we're building on that momentum."
As India moves forward with its ambitious plan to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure over the next five years, Bryson said American companies with deep experience in building infrastructure in the US "can work with India to accomplish its goals."
Moving forward, the India-US Commercial Dialogue will focus on areas such as smart grids, intelligent transportation systems, and sustainable manufacturing, he said.