External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar and US corporate leaders talked about how to increase investment, create more jobs and transfer technology, said US-India Strategic Partnership Forum Chief Mukesh Aghi on Friday (local time).
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Mukesh Aghi said, there was no discussion on COVID-19 vaccine in the meeting.
“The outcome of this meeting was that the commitment of US companies for India with India has become much stronger during this COVID-19 crisis. They have their own employees but if you look at the contribution they made is not specific to their company employees but overall to India itself,” he said.
Aghi further said that the interest in investment and growth still continues as the FDI investment in India from US companies goes up by 20 percent, compared to last year. So overall, the sentiment was strong, they talked about how to increase investment create more jobs transfer technology.
Speaking on the COVID-19 vaccine, he said, “I think there was no discussion on the vaccine in the closed-door meeting we had. But when we talk to folks like Pfizer Moderna Johnson and Johnson, they are in discussion with the government of India, to see how they can supply this vaccine into India”.
He further stated, “Johnson and Johnson, under the QUAD partnership, has agreed to manufacture a billion doses of their vaccine in partnership with Bio E, and to be distributed across the Indo Pacific region itself, whereas the Moderna and Pfizer is a much more complex mRNA technology, which is difficult to transfer because you don’t have the equipment you don’t have the trained manpower the manufacturer, so they are focused on expanding the capacity, and I think if you look at Pfizer will take the capacity of 1.2 billion doses this year, And by next year will be over 2 billion doses, and they plan to export that to rest of the world right now”.
Talking about the pharma companies and business leaders participating in this meeting, Aghi said that there were pharma companies like Abbott, Merck, and there was also a diverse group of companies, the geopolitical leader’s strategic thinkers to have a much broader discussion. It was a closed-door meeting, but the meeting was very positive, and strong sentiment on India came out.
Highlighting the COVID-19 challenges, he said that India and US companies are facing challenges to get back to business as normal or be able to get their manufacturing going be able to move their services from India to the rest of the world itself.
Explaining that Atmanirbhar Bharat is not miscalculated, he said “India supplies 40 percent of the generic drugs to the US, but it imports 70 percent is API from China. There’s a risk factor there. And then, when we started initially started supplying oxygen concentrated to India, we had challenges”.
He further stated that “All the vaccines shipping goes under the name of Indian Red Cross, Indian Red Cross. They distribute it to the states. And then we get Deloitte, who is our audit partner on this. They give us feedback, in which state what is going and how it’s getting distributed so there’s a very transparent process”.
“One of the messages we have given to Government of India is, is when you compare manufacturing in India and China, on labor costs on taxation on electricity costs is on a par. But somehow, manufacturing India is 20 percent higher because the logistic cost is higher,” he added.