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Indian and American business houses need to rise above minor disagreements

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NEW DELHI: ‘The Girl Rising Project,’ an innovative partnership between the industry and Hollywood to work on empowerment of women and education of the girl child, has been presented the Social Citizenship award at the 15th edition of the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum at Tampa Bay in Florida.

Infosys chairman N R Narayanmurthy has been honoured for lifetime achievement and Bharat Desai, chairman of Syntel – the American Information Technology major and the richest Indian American in United States – was feted for Business Achievement at the function.

FICCI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tampa Bay Trade & Protocol Council to enhance the business connectivity with the region. Over 30 per cent of the merchandise trade between United States and India is routed through the Port of Tampa. The region can become significantly important for India not only as an access point for Southern United States but also can act as a gateway for Latin America.

The two-day business meet was held on 24 and 25 April to coincide with the Indian International Film Academy awards weekend. Political and business luminaries of Florida were present at the event on US-India Partnership: A Catalyst of Economic Growth.

The film and entertainment industry in India was represented by media personalities like Shabana Azmi, Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra.

FICCI vice-president Harshavardhan Neotia who led a 20 member CEO's delegation to Tampa Florida, urged business leaders from both sides to look at opportunities beyond infrastructure and IT, driven by genuine interest in each other's economy.  In the backdrop of the Indian elections and a new Indian government by June, there is a keen anticipation to take forward the Indo-US strategic partnership, which seems to be somehow gone to a zone of discomfort, he stated.

The Florida and Tampa Bay politicos - Mayor Bob Buckhorn and commissioner Al Higginbotham - and Florida attorney general Pam Bondi echoed similar sentiments.

Diane Farrell, the acting president of USIBC, was quick to list out various opportunities that India and US can and are exploring. India's CG Atlanta Ajit Kumar specifically emphasised that the India US friendship should not be affected by small disagreements.

The Global Leadership Award is one of the highlights of the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum and is conferred on individuals or organisations that have championed success stories and made a difference to business or society across the world.

The business event discussed most of the compelling issues in the US-India Commerce, which include issues related to energy partnership and resource efficiency, collaboration in media & entertainment, life sciences, education and skills, and also areas of discomfort as movement of skilled labour which ails the Indian IT industry.

 FICCI secretary general A Didar Singh said both Indian and American industry needs to look beyond the temporary irritants and continue to gain from each other's strengths through business to business  and people to people connects. He said that we now need to look beyond traditional cooperation in infrastructure and IT and highlighted three more sectors such as defence, skills development and higher education and energy, going forward.

Others who spoke included Narayanmurthy, TERI chairman R K Pachauri, , L&T Infotech CEO Mukesh Aghi, University of Hosuton president Renu Khator, University of South Florida  president Judy Genschaft and many more.

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