"Time to deepen US-India ties through smart cities project"

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Chennai, Feb 11: US and India should deepen their already strong "commercial relationship" by collaborating on initiatives like smart cities, a senior US government official said today.

"The sheer size and dynamism of our two economies means that there is tremendous opportunity to expand bilateral trade and investment even further. "Now is the time to deepen our already strong commercial relationship through collaboration on initiatives like smart cities," US Department of Commerce's Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews said. Noting that the relationship between the two countries is already "thriving", he said, "The two-way trade almost tripled in the last decade."

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"American exports to India reached USD 37.2 billion in 2014 and imports (from India) totalled USD 65.7 billion," he said in his address at the 'Smart Cities - The Way Forward' conference, organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. He said smart cities represent the future of urbanisation, technology and sustainability, and added that "policymakers must address the demands when there is rapid urbanisation".

Pointing out that the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the US-India CEO Forum have been used as platforms to address issues like ease of doing business, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, he said, "We are at the halfway point between the last S&CD meeting." "Our private sectors are a critical partners in driving our dialogue forward and holding our two governments accountable. "Just as when we all came together in Paris to commit to addressing climate change, building 100 smart cities in India is going to require all of us to work together.

"India faces a challenging road ahead to achieve its economic and environmental ambitions. The US government and the American business community stand ready to be a partner," he said. About 300 million people are expected to move to India's smart cities over the next 20 years, roughly about the entire population of the US, he said.

PTI 

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