25th Annual General Meeting
On 4th May, 2017 AMCHAM celebrated its 25th anniversary at Hotel ITC Maurya in New Delhi. The theme of this event was The Future of U.S.-India Economic Synergy.
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General, CEO, AMCHAM India gave the welcome remarks and presented the annual report to members in the presence of Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM India and President, Boeing India and Mr. Atul Dhawan, Honorary Treasurer & Secretary, AMCHAM India and Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP. This was followed by remarks by Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM and presentation and adoption of the audited accounts for 2016-17 by Mr. Atul Dhawan, Honorary Treasurer & Secretary, AMCHAM. Mr. Madhu Poomalil, Managing Director, D. E. Shaw India Private Limited, proposed the passing of accounts and Mr. Arun Kumar Jain, Managing Director, Fluor Daniel India Pvt. Ltd., seconded it.
Ms. Ranjana Khanna announced the appointment of M/s Walker Chandiok and Co. LLP as the auditors for 2017-18. She also announced the election results of the new National Executive Board for 2017-18 which was ratified by members of the general body. The following individuals were elected to the National Executive Board and they were elected unopposed:
- Mr. Arijit Ghosh, President & Managing Director, Textron India Pvt. Ltd.
- Mr. Krish Iyer, President and CEO, Wal-Mart India Private Limited
- Mr. Kaher Kazem, President and Managing Director, General Motors India Pvt. Ltd.
- Ms. Vanitha Narayanan, Chairman, IBM India Pvt. Ltd.
- Mr. Atul Dhawan, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP
- Mr. Arun Kumar Jain, Managing Director, Fluor Daniel India Pvt. Ltd.
- Mr. Arun M. Kumar, Chairman and CEO, KPMG in India
- Mr. Philip Shaw, Chief Executive – India, Lockheed Martin India Private Limited
- Ms. Rekha M. Menon, Chairman and Managing Director, Accenture in India
- Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Immediate Past Chairman, AMCHAM and President, Boeing India
Nominees of AMCHAM’s Regional Chapters
|Bangalore||Mr. Iqbal Sait
|Mr. Paresh Shah
|Chennai||Mr. Ramkumar Ramamoorthy
Senior Vice President, Marketing, Corporate Affairs and Communications
Cognizant Technology Solutions
|Mr. Rajan Aiyer
Managing Director – GM, SAARC Region
Trimble Information Technologies India Pvt. Ltd.
|Delhi||Mr. Varun Khanna
|Hyderabad||Dr. Kiranmai Pendyala
Corp VP HR Greater Asia, AMD
AMD India Board of Director
|Mr. Madhu Poomalil
D. E. Shaw & Arcesium
|Kolkata||Mr. Debdas Sen
TCG Digital Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
|Mr. Gulshan Kumar Sachdev
Quaker Chemical India Limited
|Mumbai||Mr. Mahesh Krishnamurti
Resources Global Professionals (I) Pvt. Ltd.
|Ms. Kaku Nakhate
President & Country Head (India)
Bank of America N.A.
In accordance with the Memorandum of Association and Rules of AMCHAM, two officials of the U.S. Embassy in India are nominated as honorary members on the National Executive Board of AMCHAM. The nominees from the U.S. Embassy are:
- Mr. George N. Sibley, Minister Counselor for Economic, Environment, Science and Technology Affairs, U.S. Embassy
- Mr. Patrick Santillo, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, U.S. Embassy
Mr. Gulshan Sachdev, Vice Chairman, AMCHAM India and Managing Director, Quaker Chemical India Limited, in his vote of thanks, lauded the AMCHAM Secretariat team and presented appreciation mementos to Ms. Mamta Uppal, Membership & Events Manager and Mr. Aubrey Daniels, Regional Director – Tamil Nadu Chapter, for a distinguished decade of service.
Opening Session: ‘Pathway to the Defining Partnership of the 21st Century
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM India, set the tone for the session and introduced Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM India. She also shared some introductory remarks about the Ambassadors on the dais.
Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM India, began the day’s proceedings mentioning it was the 25th year of AMCHAM India and that there was no better way to reflect on the 25 years in India than to have a few ambassadors, from both sides, to reflect on what’s happened in the journey and discuss how to realize the full potential of this partnership. He mentioned that the U.S. – India relationship has never been better and emphasized the need for more manufacturing in India to sustain India’s GDP growth.
Ambassador Lalit Mansingh, former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to the U.S., began his address by acknowledging the incredible journey during the last 25 years for Indo – U.S. relations and also for AMCHAM India. He emphasized the growth in the U.S. – India relationship and explained there was a time in Washington when India was an object of charity and not of strategic importance but today India has been labelled as the defining partnership of the 21st century, with bilateral trade that has grown 5 times in the past 10 years to a record of 109 million dollars in 2015. He also stated that the change of optics on the political front has been equally remarkable. He stated that the dialogue between India and the U.S. has seen a manifold increase marking progress between the Government of India and the administration of the U.S., which covers almost the entire spectrum of bilateral relations.
Ambassador Mansingh highlighted the 3 million strong Indian diaspora in America that is a visible and vibrant part of the American mosaic, with high ranking Indian-Americans serving in the government. He said, even though the Indo – U.S. strategic partnership is strong, robust and irreversible, there are doubts raised from time to time. He addressed the anxieties that every Presidential election raises, about present policies being trashed and old friendships being disrupted. He highlighted security and defense relations, President Trump’s foreign policy stance, visa issues, ‘America First’ mentality, and he stated that he feels assured that the Indian industry and American industry will find a way of resolving this confliction. Ambassador Mansingh also touched upon unresolved intellectual property issues, especially in the pharmaceutical sector with the government’s latest move to replace branded pharmaceutical with generics, which is bound to meet with some resistance from the U.S.
He also acknowledged AMCHAM’s special role as a facilitator for expanding U.S. – India economic relations and concluded with warm felicitations to AMCHAM India for completing 25 glorious years and wished for even greater success in the next 25 years. Read Ambassador Lalit Mansingh’s full speech HERE.
Ambassador Richard Verma, former U.S. Ambassador to India, spoke of his experience attending AMCHAM meetings across India and expressed gratitude to AMCHAM’s advocacy for the immense value, not only in India, but also in Washington DC. He appreciated the support that AMCHAM provides to the U.S Embassy in India.
Through his address, Ambassador Verma recognized two vital reasons why the U.S. – India relationship has continued to prosper: the public sector government to government work and the private sector engagement. He recalled the early 1990’s with budding interest during President Clinton’s term followed by the administrations of President Bush and President Obama. He mentioned the U.S. – India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which was started 2 years ago, and the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) between the U.S. and India. Ambassador Verma credited the private sector for having done the heavy lifting and being the driving force in the sectors of education, entrepreneurship, agriculture, IT, etc.
In closing, he said we should not be complacent to think that the inward looking ‘Make in India’ and ‘America First’ would be a dividing factor in the U.S. – India relationship. Instead, he urged all those present to continue this dialogue with mutual respect. The Ambassador concluded by promising to be India’s closest friend and partner as India goes on its journey, along with AMCHAM, as its driving partner. Read Ambassador Verma’s full speech HERE.
Ambassador Meera Shankar, former Indian Ambassador to the U.S., began her remarks by mentioning two factors which helped to re-shape India – U.S. relations, the end of the cold war and the opening of the Indian economy. She explained that from India’s point of view the U.S. is the largest trading partner for India, 115 billion in goods and services. The U.S. is one of the few major economies with which India has a small trade surplus. She mentioned, for the U.S., India has become a partner in global collaboration and through collaboration with Indian companies, especially the IT sector, India has helped the U.S. to retain global competitiveness and to keep jobs in America.
Ambassador Shankar highlighted that the political relationship between both countries was very broad based with foundations in economics and growing strategic congruence, particularly in the Asia Pacific. She also touched on the defense partnership as a major area of growth over the past several years.
In closing, Ambassador Shankar emphasized that the partnership between the governments of India and the U.S. must ensure that whatever has been achieved remains as a strong foundation. With the new administration, there is still some ambiguity so it is crucial to have an early political summit which would enable the leaders of both countries to provide direction for the future of the relationship. Read Ambassador Shankar’s full speech HERE.
The Future of U.S. – India Economic Synergy
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM India, introduced Ms. MaryKay Carlson, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy, and requested Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM India, to introduce Mr. Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India.
Mr. Pratyush Kumar, Chairman, AMCHAM India, introduced Mr. Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, and spoke about his diagnostic thinking that paves the way to transformational economic growth. He mentioned that CDA Carlson and the whole U.S. mission in India has been extremely supportive of U.S. businesses in India. Mr. Kumar also thanked Ms. Vanitha Narayanan, Immediate Past Chairperson, AMCHAM and Chairman, IBM India.
Ms. MaryKay Carlson, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy, spoke about the bilateral economic and strategic engagement and the progress in trade ties over the last decade. She mentioned the Government of India’s implementation of pro-business reforms that could boost trade ties even more. Aside from the economic ties, she highlighted that bilateral policy engagement has also led to increased cooperation in peacekeeping, disaster assistance, maritime security and countering violent extremism.
CDA Carlson talked about the following sectors as promising opportunities for growth and synergy: civil aviation, defense, education, energy, environmental technologies and travel and tourism. She mentioned that the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit will take place from 18th-20th June in Washington DC. CDA Carlson also talked about the ways that AMCHAM plays a vital role in advancing shared prosperity and goodwill between the U.S. and India. AMCHAM had recently, through a photo exhibition, highlighted the ways American companies are making a difference in India.
In conclusion, she expressed excitement about the transformative potential of the commercial relationship between the U.S. and India and identifying more policies and practices that could further improve the ease of doing business, such as enhancing the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and harmonizing standards with international best practices. Read CDA Carlson’s full speech HERE.
The AMCHAM compendium U.S. Companies: Partners in India’s Inclusive Growth was released. The compendium offers a glimpse of the engagement of how American companies have actively engaged in India’s inclusive growth story and have created gainful engagement for more than 5 million people. Collectively, they are at the forefront of innovation and ground-breaking research and development across sectors, actively engaged with the MSME sector, committed to social upliftment, rural outreach, skill development, education, women’s empowerment, as well as, health and sanitation across the country.
In the keynote address, Mr. Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, thanked AMCHAM and American businesses in India for taking bilateral trade up to 110 billion dollars, for U.S. foreign direct investment of 50 billion U.S. dollars and for creating 5 million jobs in the country. He said that this is an extraordinary achievement of American business in India. Mr. Sinha said that India and the United States are large countries and the ties are strong and intertwined, with Indian partnership in universities, businesses and personal ties. He added that there is no need to worry about the future of the India – U.S. relationship as this is a strong partnership and is doing very well.
Mr. Sinha mentioned that Spice Jets’s purchase order of Boeing aircrafts in India will secure 108,000 jobs in America and that the U.S. has also always welcomed Indians by providing jobs. U.S. – India’s strong foundation needs to be leveraged to help the world create a much more sustainable future. India’s contribution to world GDP is going to be almost equal to that of China at an estimated 11 trillion in the future. He emphasized that this strength of India needs to be leveraged to help build a frugal and sustainable future globally.
Mr. Sinha also talked about how reforms 3.0 in the Indian government is allowing markets to flourish with an increased focus on ease of doing business and building a foundation in technologies. U.S. companies are already at the forefront of these businesses and he highlighted successful business stories of Boeing and Amazon, in India. Read Mr. Jayant Sinha’s full speech HERE.
A commemorative volume entitled The India Journey – AMCHAM India celebrates 25 years of American companies’ contribution to India’s economy, society and U.S. – India friendship was released. The volume embodies the collective contribution of over 400 AMCHAM member companies. It is also a tribute to the U.S. Ambassadors to India in their capacity as honorary presidents of AMCHAM, our past chairmen and countless well-wishers that have encouraged AMCHAM.
Ms. Vanitha Narayanan, Immediate Past Chairperson, AMCHAM and Chairman, IBM India, in her closing remarks, mentioned that a silver jubilee is a significant milestone and was thankful for the retrospective look into the past 25 years of AMCHAM. She emphasized that the U.S. – India relationship does have a solid foundation and that we are at the tipping point where the acceleration of collaboration and growth is evident across sectors and industries. Ms. Narayanan talked about, not only frugal development but also affordable innovation. She thanked the representative on the dais and thanked the embassy for their ongoing support.
Luncheon Keynote Address
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM India welcomed the gathering and called upon the Chairman of AMCHAM India to introduce the keynote speaker for the afternoon. Mr. Pratyush Kumar introduced Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways, Government of India.
Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways, Government of India, mentioned in his keynote address that one of the largest FDI, one of the largest orders that the railways has ever placed, almost 7 billion dollars was placed by two companies — GE for making diesel locomotives and Alstom, the French company, for making electrical locomotives. They are also working on a very ambitious program of making WIFI available on all public platforms and there again our partner and their partner for part of the project is Google, so U.S. companies are working with the railways.
He spoke about the plans for taking the railways to a higher level and generating income in creative ways. Mr. Prabhu explained the changes being made in the freight sector — separate freight corridors to be made to ensure that revenue generation continues to be churned. He talked about non-fare revenues, how the railways are getting more organized, creating standards and having regular energy audits. He also mentioned that the creation and restoration of water bodies along the tracks not only makes sense for environmental reasons, but also for economic reasons. Mr. Prabhu mentioned how the railways has introduced enterprise resource planning which has the potential to increase revenues and save money.
In closing, Mr. Prabhu said that India and the U.S. must work together in many areas, not just economic and it is time to take the next step forward and take the relationship to a higher level for the global good. He mentioned that the chamber is vital for this and acknowledged the significant role businesses play in pushing this relationship. Read Mr. Suresh Prabhu’s full speech HERE.
Ms. Ranjana Khanna, gave the vote of thanks and introduced the U.S. Consul Generals and their successors who joined the networking lunch reception:
- Katherine Hadda, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad
- Jonathan Kessler, Director – North India Office, U.S. Embassy
- Deborah Robinson, Acting Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Chennai
- Thomas Vajda, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai
- Robert Burgess, Director of the Office of Regional Affairs in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. State Department
- Edgard Kagan, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur
- Derek Westfall, Deputy Director of the Office of Regional Affairs in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. State Department