On April 9, Amb. Taranjit Sandhu, the Ambassador of India to the United States, joined USISPF members on a webinar to provide updates on India’s COVID-19 response and what the Embassy of India is doing to assist citizens and businesses at this difficult time.
In terms of India’s response to COVID-19, Ambassador Sandhu emphasized that India’s goal is to minimize the human cost of the pandemic and to contain the virus. He highlighted the $22.5 billion stimulus package the Government of India announced in March, which provides targeted aid to India’s most vulnerable citizens. He also noted the Government of India’s recent decisions to extend tax deadlines and the visas of foreign nationals unable to leave India due to the national lockdown. He spoke of the opportunities for the U.S. and India to collaborate on issues related to COVID-19 in areas ranging from technological transfers to vaccine development, pointing to the recent teleconference and Twitter exchanges between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump in which the two leaders reiterate their commitment to working together at this time. He also stated that there will be many opportunities for India and the U.S. to strengthen economic ties in the post-pandemic future, particularly in the energy sector.
Ambassador Sandhu also answered questions from USISPF members related to lockdown exemptions for essential goods and services, the Government of India’s recent decision to ease restrictions on pharmaceutical exports, and where to find updates on pandemic-related policy decisions. The Ambassador encouraged U.S. companies with a presence in India to reach out to the Embassy’s commerce wing for assistance on specific issues.