Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman discussed investment opportunities, reforms in India and other related issues during her meeting with leaders of global corporations in the US, who said they were upbeat about investing in the country.
Ms Sitharaman had arrived in that country on Monday to attend the annual meet of the World Bank and IMF in Washington as well as G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting.
During the official visit, the finance minister is expected to meet US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
After arriving in New York, Ms Sitharaman travelled to Boston where she will meet investors during a roundtable hosted by FICCI and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and executives of global corporations and also address students at Harvard University.
Prominent among those who met the minister in Boston were John Connaughton co-managing partner and Stephen Pagliuca, co-chairman of Bain Capital; Edmund DiSanto, Executive Vice President, Chief Administration Officer and General Counsel of American Tower Corporation (ATC); Prahlad Singh, President and CEO of Perkin Elmer and Dr John Ardill, Senior Vice President of ExxonMobil.
Expressing their confidence in the Indian economy and the ongoing reforms, the corporate leaders said that they were upbeat about investing in the country.
Ms Sitharaman also attended a dinner hosted by Lawrence Summers, former Treasury Secretary, along with other eminent experts in the fields of economics, public policy, finance, and development.
“The finance minister elucidated the intent of the country to be more inclusive in development and growth,” Prahlad Singh said after his meeting with Ms Sitharaman in Boston.
In a wide-ranging discussion with the minister, Mr Singh stated that some of the best science graduates and skill sets that Perkin Elmer as a company leverage, come out of India.
He said that India’s healthcare industry is ripe for investment.
Mr Singh added that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, products that have been developed in the company’s facilities in Goa are being used and exported outside the country for use for COVID-19 testing.
In her meeting with ATC’s Mr DiSanto, the minister highlighted reforms including National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) for private sector investment towards new infrastructure creation in brownfield infrastructure assets.
Opportunities in India steering foreign collaborations and attracting Foreign Direct Investment in the next five years under NMP through investment in strategic sectors, including telecom, formed part of discussion, the finance ministry said.
ATC, which has 76,000 towers in India, aims to expand operations in the telecommunications sector by adding another 4,000 towers.
“So we’ll make an incremental investment in the ordinary course even in the pandemic that”ll bring us to 80,000 (towers),” Mr DiSanto said.
ATC India is among the passive telecom infrastructure providers in India and is an indirectly-held subsidiary of American Tower Corporation.
“I see that the moves that the government of India has made recently has sent a very powerful message to the world of western investors, indicating a new receptivity and a new system that I think does encourage the opportunity,” DiSanto said after his meeting with Ms Sitharaman.
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