Mukherjee heads high-power team to CEOs meet in D.C.

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee heads a high-power team of policymakers and corporate leaders to the India-US CEOs Forum in Washington Sunday to outline the next steps forward in enhancing business ties between the two countries.

The import of this meeting can be gauged from the composition of the delegation as it includes Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and industrialists Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani.

From the US side, the business leaders scheduled to attend the meeting include Honeywell chief executive David M. Cote, PepsiCo chairperson Indra Nooyi, Citigroup chief Vikram Pandit and JP Morgan Chase chief Jaimie Dimon.

Top on the agenda of the forum’s meeting will be specific deliberations on key priority areas that were already identified to push trade, investment and social ties between the two countries, officials here said.

These include better education, skill development, funding of growth-oriented projects, research on alternative energy sources, easier visas facilitation, cooperation in civil aviation, including air safety, electricity generation and balanced legal framework.

The forum was first constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then US president George W. Bush in July 2005. The give mandate of the forum was concluded when it gave a comprehensive report for the two governments to address after four meeetings.

Then in November last year, the prime minister re-constituted the forum, which also held its first meeting at that time in Washington. This forum is co-chaired by Tata and Cote and will hold its first meeting in Washington June 22.

From the Indian side, the other members of the forum include Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, S. Gopalakrishnan of Infosys, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Airtel, Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank and Deepak Parekh of HDFC.

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