The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum kicked off its “Startup Connect Program” at its virtually held West Coast Summit. Focused on strengthening US-India bilateral ties through startups, the summit brought together over 300 executives including 100 startups, 100 Fortune 500 companies, and senior officials from both governments.
Speakers at the launch included: Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador of India to the United States; Keith Krach, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, U.S. Department of State; John Chambers, Founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures & Chairman of USISPF; Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President, and CEO, Adobe; Raj Subramaniam, President & COO, FedEx Corporation; and several startup founders.
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In a virtual ‘fireside chat’ with John Chambers, Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu, the Ambassador of India to the U.S., highlighted the importance of technology to both countries’ ability to respond and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. He pointed to U.S.-India’s long-standing partnership in critical sectors, such as health care, life sciences, and technology, as critical to addressing current challenges, and categorized young innovators and their startups as a key driver of economic growth that will continue to bring the countries together. Finally, he outlined his priorities as the Indian ambassador to the U.S., including addressing U.S. visa issues, deepening trade relations, and attracting investment on both sides. He also expressed his optimism about the possibility of finalizing a smaller trade agreement in the near future.
In conversation with John Chambers, Keith Krach, the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the U.S. Department of State, outlined his three priorities as economic security, economic competitiveness, and building an Economic Prosperity Network of trusted partners. He pointed to India as an important partner in achieving these goals and highlighted the importance of cooperation between the U.S. and India in safeguarding intellectual property and global economic security, particularly in light of the challenges presented by China.
In a discussion moderated by Uniphore Founder and CEO Umesh Sachdev, Shantanu Narayen, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Adobe, and Raj Subramaniam, the President and COO of FedEx Corporation, shared their insight as business leaders into the opportunities and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, to startups and large corporations alike. They both emphasized the importance of approaching the current crisis as an opportunity for innovation, and highlighted technology, digitization, and data as key assets for companies to adapt to the “new normal.” Another point emphasized by both leaders is the importance of corporate culture.