U.S. Chamber and Indian Minister of Commerce Goyal, launching U.S.-India “Innovation Handshake” Initiative

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On the periphery of the 2023 APEC Leaders Summit and in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) hosted the inaugural discussion roundtable on “Decoding the Innovation Handshake,” an industry-driven collaborative effort between the United States and India promoting innovation and fostering the development of critical and emerging technologies. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal jointly led the event. Suzanne P. Clark, President & CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of CII, represented the American and Indian private sectors, respectively, alongside founders and c-suite executives from over thirty American and Indian companies.


“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a part of this new initiative to increase innovation and collaboration between the U.S. and India. With the launch of the “Innovation Handshake,” both Washington and New Delhi are demonstrating a renewed commitment to the partnership needed to unlock the technology of tomorrow. Fueled by free enterprise and enabled by pro-growth policies, this new initiative will ensure the U.S. and India work together to reward those who develop solutions to serve customers, solve problems, and strengthen society,” said Clark.


The “Innovation Handshake,” a concept developed under the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue, was announced as a key component of the bilateral summit held between U.S. President Joseph Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the historic State Visit in June 2023. The handshake aims to catalyze deeper connectivity and integration of America’s and India’s innovation ecosystems, from academia and research institutions to government and industry cooperation.


The inaugural roundtable presented the opportunity for political and industry leaders to hear firsthand the steps required to ensure both democracies can continue leading the way globally in critical areas, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, defense, semiconductors, space and geospatial technologies, telecommunications, supply chains, and clean energy. The roundtable also addressed how private equity and venture capital are crucial in accelerating and promoting innovation while delivering scalable and commercially viable solutions to global challenges. The discussions and topics built on talks held and hosted earlier this year by the U.S. Chamber and USIBC, including the Track 1.5 launch of the U.S.-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)  in January, followed by the new India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS X) Initiative in June.


“Through the Innovation Handshake, the United States and India are forging a critical tech partnership that will further strengthen our interconnected innovation ecosystems,” said Secretary Raimondo. “This is an important step to bolster the U.S.-India commercial relationship, and I look forward to building on this progress with Minister Goyal to help U.S. and Indian workers and businesses succeed.”


“The Innovation Handshake signals a joint commitment to strengthen the startup ecosystem and promote cooperation in Critical and Emerging Technologies between India and the United States,” said Minister Goyal.


A CII-led delegation of entrepreneurs and innovators from across India also participated in the program, highlighting specific opportunities and recommendations that would ease operational and early-stage challenges faced by startups in both markets. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of CII, said, “Today exemplifies what’s possible when government and industry work collaboratively and in consultation. In many ways, the startup ecosystem created in India is only made possible through our government’s digital public infrastructure priorities. We stand ready to further the technological convergence, especially on R&D collaboration, product fitment and testing opportunities, and enabling access to capital between India and the U.S. through this Innovation Handshake.”


Edward Knight, Executive Vice Chairman of Nasdaq and Chair of the USIBC Global Board of Directors, stated that “Today was a significant opportunity for Secretary Raimondo and Minister Goyal to review the deepening technology collaboration between the U.S. and India, and for the private sector to offer insights on the U.S.-India partnership’s potential to scale innovation and solve the biggest shared challenges faced by our citizens. If there is one clear takeaway from today, it is that working in concert with partners and stakeholders, we are going to meet those challenges head-on.”


Amb. Atul Keshap, President of USIBC and SVP for South Asia at the U.S. Chamber, congratulated all parties on the ambitious and productive discussions. “From Silicon Valley to Bangalore, American and Indian entrepreneurs and innovators are paving the way forward and boldly leading us into brave new worlds. We at USIBC applaud Secretary Raimondo and Minister Goyal for convening this meeting and for their commitment to creating the necessary frameworks and structures to ensure our pathways to innovation are accessible, easy to navigate, well-funded and functioning, and complimentary to the transformative power of industry.”

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