Having trouble viewing this email? Please Click here
Greetings from the Embassy of India in Washington DC!
Welcome to the March 6, 2021, edition of our newsletter, bringing you important policy and high-impact news about India.
We hope you find it useful.
High Impact News
High Level Engagements with the new US Administration
Prime Minister Modi had a telephone conversation with President Biden, on February 8, 2021. Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister and U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke twice over phone. Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke to their respective counterparts in the US.

During these interactions, issues including ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, clean energy, regional developments and other areas of common strategic interests were discussed. The leaders agreed to work closely to further advance the India-U.S. Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, built on shared values and common interests.
3rd India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting
Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs participated in the 3rd India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting held on 18 February 2021 with his counterparts Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The Ministers highlighted their shared attributes as political democracies, market economies and pluralistic societies. They recognized that the changes underway in the world makes a strong case for their countries working closely together.
India Reiterates Its Commitment to a Sustainable Future at World Sustainable Development Summit 2021 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the World Sustainable Development Summit 2021 on 10th February. The theme of the Summit was 'Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all’. While inaugurating the event, Prime Minister Modi emphasised the aspects of Togetherness and Innovation. He said that sustainable development will only be achieved by collective efforts across the globe. 
“Meeting the Challenge of our Times: Deepening the India-U.S. Partnership"- Op-ed by Ambassador in Newsweek
Over the last two decades, India and the United States have overcome the hesitations of history and fashioned a remarkable partnership, built on a bipartisan consensus in the U.S. and cross-party support in India.

As immediate priorities, India looks forward to working with the new US Administration and other stakeholders around five baskets: first, given the pandemic, cooperation in healthcare and pharma and Covid-19 management including affordable medicines and vaccines; second, the digital space, including information and communication technology, innovation and start-ups; third, the energy sector, including LNG, renewables, solar that will allow us to combat climate change; fourth, the education and knowledge partnership; and finally, our cooperation in strategic and defense areas, including in the Indo-Pacific.
India hailed globally for providing COVID-19 vaccination assistance 
India has been lauded by the global leaders as it continues to lead in assisting the countries under its 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative amid the coronavirus pandemic.

50 countries across the world have already received a total of 48 million Made in India vaccines including countries in Europe, Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands. India will extend vaccine supply to more countries in the coming days .
India red-hot investment opportunity for clean energy transition, says John Kerry
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry said he intends to work "very, very closely with" with Indian leadership including Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

India is actually a red-hot investment opportunity for its clean energy transition, John Kerry said as he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his commitment to addressing the challenge posed by climate change which the Biden Administration believes posed an existential threat to humanity.
VL-SRSAM Missile System Launched Successfully 
The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted two successful launches of Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM). The domestically designed missile system is designed to tackle various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets. The recent launches were intended to demonstrate vertical launch capability, and the missiles intercepted the simulated targets with pinpoint accuracy on both occasions. The present trials have proved the effectiveness of the weapon system and few more trials will be conducted before the Navy will deploy the missile system to serve as a force multiplier.
Ease of Doing Business Reforms Take Effect in 15 States
15 Indian states have successfully completed the “Ease of Doing Business” (EoDB) reforms with the most recent being Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. These reforms signal the investment friendly business climate in the Indian Market. Improvements in the ease of doing business are essential for increasing future economic growth.

Therefore, the Government of India has instituted an incentive mechanism for the states to undertake necessary reforms. In May 2020, loans were provided to States who undertook a series of reforms to facilitate ease of doing business including assessing the District Level Business Reform Action Plan; eliminating several of the renewal requirements for business certificates, approvals, licenses and Implementing a computerized inspection system.
16th Edition of India-US Annual bilateral joint exercise 'Yudh Abhyas' comes to an end in Rajasthan 
The annual joint military exercise between the Indian and U.S. Armies, ‘Exercise Yudh Abhyas-20’ was held at Rajasthan from February 8 to February 21.

This was the 16th edition of the joint exercise. The aim of the exercise was to focus on counter terrorism operations under the mandate of the United Nations.
Curtains come down on Aero India-2021
Aero India 2021 was held in Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru from 03 - 05 February 2021.

Despite Covid constraints across the world Aero India-2021 has been immensely successful; this is evident as more than 16,000 people attended it physically and more than 4.5 lakh virtually. The platform hosted 540 companies including 84 foreign firms from 55 nations, signing of 128 MoUs, 19 Transfer of Technology (ToTs), 4 Handing Overs, 18 Product Launches and 32 major announcements, totaling a grand figure of 201 feats.
Key Policy Decisions
Highlights: India unveils budget aimed at boosting pandemic-hit economy
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the budget for fiscal 2021-22, that aims to shore up an economy falling by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Budget 2021-22 reflects firm commitment of the Government to boost economic growth by investing in infrastructure development.
Union Budget Provides Boost to India’s Clean Energy Policy 
The Union Budget for 2021-22 has cemented renewable energy’s place at the heart of India’s energy production by boosting the capabilities of Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA). SECI is a public sector undertaking that plans and facilitates tenders for the development of renewable energy. IREDA functions as a financing agency for the renewable energy sector. Additionally, the Union Budget has proposed a National Hydrogen Mission, which would generate hydrogen from green power sources. 
PLI Scheme for Telecom, IT Hardware, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Sectors Announced
The Union Cabinet has approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Telecom and Networking Products, Pharmaceuticals and IT Hardware. The extension of the PLI Scheme will enable enhanced domestic manufacturing by attracting large investments. The Target Segments under the proposed Scheme include Laptops, Tablets, All-in-One PCs and Servers. The PLI scheme for Pharmaceuticals will benefit domestic manufacturers, help in creating employment, enhance exports and contribute to the availability of a wider range of affordable medicines for consumers. 
India Teams Up with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Promote Health Research 
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Council of the Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the development, conduct and promotion of health research in India. Under the aegis of the MoU, the Gates Foundation and CSIR will work together to identify opportunities to initiate scientific and technological collaborations for developing new preventions, therapies and interventions that can help to solve major health concerns that affect India and other developing countries.
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari launches ‘Go Electric’ Campaign
Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari launched the “Go Electric” Campaign to spread awareness on the benefits of e-mobility and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure as well as electric cooking in India. 
India Eases Access for Foreign Investors
India is making it easier for foreign investors to invest in India. The Government of India has proposed amendments to the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 and Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 with consequential amendments in the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 and The Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 to confer the power to Pooled Investment Vehicles (defined to include AIFs, REITs, InvITs etc.) to borrow and issue debt securities. 
Jal Jeevan Mission- Urban to Cover All Cities in India
The Jal Jeevan Mission announced in the Union Budget for 2021-22, has been designed to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households. The mission will encourage competition among cities to become more water secure and will create more awareness and sensitivity towards water conservation. Jal Jeevan Mission is designed to provide universal coverage of water supply through functional taps in all 4,378 statutory towns in accordance with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Chancery Address:
2107 Massachusetts Avenue NW,
Washington DC 20008
Consular Wing Address:
2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW,
Washington DC 20008