Panellists across the board at the Indo-US Economic Summit agreed that as we change and try to achieve a V-shaped growth curve, we need to steel ourselves against the changing post-COVID world and negative growth outlook.
Dr Lalit Bhasin, Summit Chair and Regional President, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, North India Council, said, “The world of today is far removed from yesterday; for this world, we need to strategise and build bilateral partnerships across key sectors. That’s how we would strive to reach the goals of Atmanirbhar Bharat and step out of our current levels of negative growth.”
Dr Bhasin’s address served as an inauguration for the 16th Indo-US Economic Summit on Thursday. In the COVID circumstances, the summit had a rare, online avatar.
It addressed ‘US Economic Partnership: #Prospects & #Challenges in the Approaching Decade’. These included discussions around Defence and Aerospace, Artificial Intelligence and Banking, Financial Services and Insurance.
The current COVID crisis, which pushed a large segment of the workplace back into their homes, has made many realise the importance of tech-integration with businesses, especially with artificial intelligence. “Everything we do today is supported by algorithms”, said Sameer Dhanrajani, Chief Executive Officer, AIQRATE Advisory & Consulting.
However, the panellists emphasised, we need to see it as an enabler rather than an end-all solution. “AI alone is not enough – you can always create the most robust algorithms, but without the best data pipes, they will fall flat. They also need the best user interface to get true adoption”, he added.
Dr Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer at Microsoft India, said, “It’s important to think of AI not only as a technology but also as an enabler of strategy, culture, leadership and removal of bias, exclusion and lack of transparency.
“Bringing AI also becomes a leadership exercise, where we need to check how open the organisation is to contrary views, supported by data. Are we open to newer, low-level techies and work on our biases, ethics and responsibility, reliability and accountability,” Srivathsa added.
The summit also highlighted the broader worries around a negative growth outlook, a forecasted reality for India for this year and possibly next year as well.
Sanjay Vasudeva, Senior Partner, SCV & Co. LLP, said, “While we hope for a V-shape recovery, we have to keep in mind that India’s growth outlook has been forecast at a negative nine per cent. To tide this time through, public sectors would need a minimum allocation of Rs 35,000 to Rs 55,000 crore.”
For defence and aerospace, the way forward was mainly around bilateral technology inputs between India and the US, which leveraged American know-how, with India serving as a large market for American firms. Capt Daniel E. Fillion, Office of Defense Cooperation from the US Embassy, William L Blair, Vice President and Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India, N. Raveeswaran, Chief Strategy Officer and Head – New Projects, Mahindra Aerospace and Defence and Michael Koch, Vice President, India for Boeing Defense held an engaging session in this regard.
Edgard D Kagan, Deputy Chief of Mission from the US Embassy served as the Chief Guest for the summit.