June 15, 2010: EWCW-FICCI-SAIS Event

(Click to enlarge) From left to right, Representative James McDermott, Ambassador Arun K. Singh, Dr. Amit Mitra, Dr. Anne O. Krueger, Dr. Satu Limaye and Dr. Walter Andersen discuss the current state of U.S.-India economic relations.

(Click to enlarge) Rep. McDermott shares his experience as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans.

U.S.-India Economic Relations: The Road Ahead


(Washington D.C.) June 15–The establishment of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue demonstrates the comprehensive bilateral relationship which has developed between the United States and India. The U.S.-India economic relationship is similarly diverse and strong. This event, co-hosted with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University (SAIS), featured Representative James McDermott (D-WA), Ambassador Arun K. Singh, deputy chief of mission of the Indian embassy, Dr. Amit Mitra, secretary general of FICCI and Dr. Anne O. Krueger, professor of international economics, SAIS. The speakers discussed the nature of economic interaction taking place between the United States and India and the enormous potential for further collaboration and growth.

Today, the United States and India share many connections: similar values as large multicultural democracies, people-to-people interaction through the presence of a large Indian international student population and about 2.5 million Indian-Americans in the United States and U.S. investments in India worth $2.6 billion. Representative McDermott recalled how little inter-governmental and business interaction existed between the two countries just two decades ago. He believes that India, as an innovative country, will continue to grow economically and make valuable contributions to the international community.

Both countries are committed to strengthening their growing partnership and have much to gain from enhanced economic ties. Ambassador Singh noted that the top areas with potential for further collaboration between the United States and India include research and development in the technology industry, including medical and space exploration fields, as well as the development of the manufacturing, agriculture and energy sectors. To promote the long-term growth of the Indian economy, Ambassador Singh explained that India would be developing its infrastructure and higher-education system and working to improve its agricultural methods. He welcomed further collaboration with the United States on these initiatives. Dr. Mitra shared Ambassador Singh’s sentiments and additionally expressed hopes for increased trade between the two countries through cooperation to reduce tariff-added costs and discussions of a potential U.S.-India free trade agreement.


While India’s services sector has experienced great success and growth, Dr. Krueger highlighted the underutilization of labor for manufacturing, which she described as the “missing middle.” With approximately 400 million people in the Indian workforce, only 27 million are a part of the manufacturing sector. Krueger argued that this is the sector which could use the most attention. However, she also recognized that a new focus on manufacturing would entail politically difficult reforms in labor laws. Regarding multilateral trade agreements, Krueger argued that India has much more to gain than the United States.


James McDermott(D-WA) represents the seventh congressional district of Washington State, which includes Seattle and its neighboring communities. He was elected in 1988 and is serving in his eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Representative McDermott is a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans and has been active in promoting relations with India. As a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative McDermott is chairman of its Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee and also serves on its Subcommittee on Trade. Prior to his service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Representative McDermott served the Washington State Legislature for 15 years, was a physician and also served as a Foreign Service medical officer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).


Arun K. Singh is deputy chief of mission of the Embassy of India in Washington, DC and began this assignment in October 2008. Ambassador Singh has had a long career with the Indian Foreign Service. Before his current post in Washington, DC, he served as Ambassador of India to Israel from 2005-2008; joint secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs, with the United Nations Policy, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran Divisions from 2000-2005; counsellor minister at the Indian Mission in Moscow from 1997-2000; and as counsellor at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations Office in New York from 1993-1997. Ambassador Singh completed his master’s degree in economics from Delhi University and taught at the University for two years.

Amit Mitrais secretary general of FICCI and was the recipient of the India's Prestigious National Civilian Padma Shree Award in 2008. Dr. Mitra is the chairman of the Expert Committee which was constituted to advise the Railway Ministry on innovative financing and implementation of economically unviable but socially desired projects. He has also been appointed as a member of numerous boards and currently is a member on the boards of Air India-National Aviation Company of India Ltd. (NACIL), IL&FS-CDI, a subsidiary of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) and Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC). Dr. Mitra has held teaching positions at many major American universities and has also published many articles in various Indian newspapers. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University.


Anne O. Kruegeris a professor of international economics at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. She is also a senior fellow with the Center for International Development, of which she was the founding Director, and the Herald L. and Caroline Ritch Emeritus Professor of Sciences and Humanities in the Economics Department at Stanford University. From 2001 to 2006, Dr. Krueger served as the First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. Prior to that, she had taught at several universities, including Stanford and Duke Universities and the University of Minnesota. Dr. Krueger was also Vice President of Economics and Research at the World Bank from 1982-1986. She holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.