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Greetings from the Embassy of India in Washington DC!
Welcome to the November 20, 2020, edition of our newsletter, bringing you important policy and high-impact news about India.
I hope you find it useful.
High Impact News
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and His Excellency Joseph R. Biden, President-elect of the United States of America connect
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephone conversation today with His Excellency Joseph R. Biden, President-elect of the United States of America.

Prime Minister Modi warmly congratulated President-elect Biden on his election, describing it as a testament to the strength and resilience of democratic traditions in the United States.

The Prime Minister also extended his heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Vice President-elect Senator Kamala Harris.
PM Modi addressed the 3rd Annual Bloomberg New Economy Forum
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi delivered an address at the 3rd Annual Bloomberg New Economy Forum on 17th November 2020 at around 6:30 PM IST. The Bloomberg New Economy Forum was established in 2018 by Mr. Michael Bloomberg. It seeks to build a community of leaders to engage in real conversations leading to actionable solutions about the critical challenges facing a world economy in the throes of a historic transition.
Joint Statement on the third India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue
India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper to New Delhi for the third annual India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. While celebrating more than seven decades of diplomatic engagement between India and the United States, the Ministers intend to expand cooperation under the 2+2 framework to realize the full potential of the India-U.S. Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.
Prime Minister Modi’s Address at the India-Energy Forum
Delivering the inaugural address through video conference for the fourth India Energy CERAWeek, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India aims to ensure energy justice while fully following global commitments for sustainable growth. He added that India's future energy map will have seven key drivers: Accelerating efforts to move towards a gas-based economy; Cleaner use of fossil fuels; Greater reliance on domestic sources to drive bio-fuels; Achieving the renewables target of 450 GW by 2030; Increasing the contribution of electricity to de-carbonize mobility; Moving into emerging fuels, including hydrogen; and Digital innovation across all energy systems. Following his address, PM Modi held a virtual meeting with CEOs of 40 Oil and Gas Companies from around the world.
PM Narendra Modi's interview to The Economic Times
On 29 October, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave interview to the Economic Times where he defined the approach of ‘New India’ in a fast-shaping new pandemic world order. How pre-emptive strategies like the lockdown helped save many lives; how the economy is on the road to recovery and why he is still optimistic of achieving the target of $5 trillion economy by 2024.
Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu addresses the USA - Punjab Investors’ Roundtable 2020
Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu delivered a special address at the inaugural session of USA-Punjab Investors’ Roundtable 2020 on 17 November 2020. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh delivered the Presidential address and highlighted the expanding investment opportunities in Punjab in conversation with President & CEO of Mastercard Dr. Ajay Banga. Senior officials of Government of Punjab, prominent industry representatives, and eminent members of the Indian-American community in the US attended the Roundtable.
India Grosses Highest Ever FDI In First Five Months
The many steps taken over the past six years to liberalize and simplify regulation on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) have resulted in growing investor confidence in India, signaled by both short- and long-term trends in FDI inflows. During the first five months of the current financial year, FDI inflow totaled US$35.7 billion, a 13% increase from the same time period last year, and the highest ever inflow of FDI in that same time period. The long-term data is also equally promising with FDI inflow growing by 55% during the past six years compared to the preceding six year period; FDI totaled US$358.3 billion from 2014-2020, compared to FDI inflows of US$321.4 billion from 2008-2014.
Bill Gates States His Faith In India’s Ability To Develop Covid-19 Vaccine
Addressing the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting 2020, Bill Gates praised India for the inspirational strides made in health indicators. While talking about the difficulties in vaccine development and diagnostics of Covid-19, he emphasised that India’s research and manufacturing capabilities will play a significant role in both developing a bulwark against the ongoing pandemic and making vaccines at a large scale. He underscored the importance of ongoing cooperation among the scientific community on vaccine clinical trials and reiterated the need for game-changing innovation in the filed of diagnostics, referencing the insensitivity of current techniques to detect coronaviruses.
Pride of India; Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette ‘Kavaratti’ Commissioned 
The final in a series of four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes, “INS Kavaratti” has been commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Visakhapatnam Naval Dockyard. With 90% its components sourced and developed within India, including its weapons and sensors suite, ASW corvettes are a testimony to India’s growing defense capabilities. The state-of-the-art weapons and sensor suite are capable of detecting and engaging submarines. The ship also boasts a reliable self-defense capability alongside considerable endurance for long-range deployments. The commission of INS Kavaratti is another significant step towards making India combat ready and enhancing the Indian Navy’s preparedness.
Bringing Khadi into the Global Fashion Map
Shri Nitin Gadkari, union minister for MSME, recently launched India’s first-ever high quality Khadi Fabric Footwear, designed by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). These handcrafted Khadi fabric footwear are made of silk, cotton and wool and are available for sale online through KVIC’s website: www.khadiindia.gov.in. This effort will support local artisans while placing Khadi on the international fashion map as an alternative to leather and other conventional products
India Taking Long Strides Towards Indigenously Made Supercomputers
Through the National Super Computing Mission (NSM), India is increasing its supercomputer manufacturing facilities and associated capabilities, which will provide tremendous benefits in fields like research, academics, drug discovery, oil exploration, disaster management, and more. In the now-ongoing 2nd phase of NSM, the network of supercomputers will reach computing speeds of around 16 Petaflops (PF), while phase 3, launching in early 2021, will aim to achieve speeds of up to 45 Petaflops. The three phases will provide access to High-Performance Computing (HPC) Facilities to around 75 institutions and thousands of active researchers and academics working through the Nation Knowledge Network (NKN) - the backbone for supercomputing systems.
Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility Developed by CSIR-CMERI 
To maintain a clean environment and to safeguard contamination of soil, air and water, CSIR-CMERI have developed a Municipal Solid Waste Processing (MSW) Facility to help achieve decentralised decimation of solid wastes while generating value from redundant material like dry grass and leaves. The MSW facility will help address harmful effects of heavy metal runoff into agricultural products too often caused by traditional waste treatment measures. This facility has the added benefit of reducing the risk of diseases, as traditional dumped landfills become contamination hubs for pathogens, bacteria and viruses. It has been equipped to deal with various bio-medical wastes like masks, diapers, and sanitary napkins, and has been built with special disinfection capabilities like UV-C lights and hot-air convection methods to break apart any present COVID-19 virus samples. Additionally, the MSW facility’s use of solar energy can feed surplus energy back to the grid.
Key Policy Decisions
REITs and InvITs in GIFT City Get a New Regulatory Framework
The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has issues a regulatory framework for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City International Financial Services Centre (GIFT IFSC). The IFSCA has permitted REITs and InvITs incorporated in FATF compliant jurisdictions to list on GIFT IFSC stock exchanges. Additionally, InvITs are permitted to raise funds through private placements. In line with the standard framework in other global financial centres, REITs and InvITs registered in GIFT city are permitted to invest in both real estate assets and infrastructure projects respectively in IFSC, India and other foreign jurisdictions. This will allow entities in IFSC to benefit from the growth of the real estate and infrastructure sectors in international jurisdictions.
Mobile Application for Geo tagging of Irrigation Projects Launched
The Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a mobile application for geo tagging the components of projects under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana- Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (PMKSY-AIBP). As part of the Digital India campaign, the Ministry, with the help of the Bhaskaracharya National Institute of Space Applications & Geo-informatics (BISAG-N), has launched the mobile application to track the pace of work and status of these projects. An online Management Information System (MIS) has also been developed for reviewing projects’ work progress. Notably, the mobile app can be operated in both online & offline modes depending on the network availability in the region.
Foundational Stone of India’s first Multi-modal Logistic Park laid  
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs, laid the foundational stone for India’s first Multi-modal Logistic Park (MMLP) in Assam today. Developed under the ambitious Bharatmala Pariyojana of the Government of India, the Park will be built at a cost of around INR 700 crore, and will provide direct air, road, rail, and waterway connectivity to the people. The project will provide direct or indirect employment to nearly 20 lakh youth in the State. The MMLP will have various facilities, including a warehouse, railway siding, cold storage, custom clearance house, a yard facility, workshops, petrol pumps, truck parking, an administrative building, boarding lodging, eating joints, a water treatment plant, and more. The Government plans to develop 35 similar MMLPs with the help of SPVs and professionally qualified CEOs.
Cabinet approves Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme to 10 key Sectors for Enhancing India’s Manufacturing Capabilities and Enhancing Exports – Atmanirbhar Bharat  
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to introduce the PLI Scheme in the 10 key sectors for Enhancing India’s Manufacturing Capabilities and Enhancing Exports – Atmanirbhar Bharat
Frontier Technologies Get A Boost With Cloud Innovation Center
Using digital innovation to address societal challenges, NITI Aayog, along with Amazon Web Services (AWS), has established a novel Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Center (CIC). The Center was developed through AWS’s Global Program, which facilitates efforts by governments, non-profit organizations, and academia to work together on pressing challenges and provides the technological expertise of AWS to develop suitable outcomes. Thanks to its synergies with NITI Aayog and Atal Innovation Mission, the CIC will also prove to be a hotbed for start-ups and cloud-based innovations resulting from leveraging emerging technologies such as AI, IOT, robotics, blockchain, etc. With the Center being developed in India, the country joins the global network of AWS public sector cloud innovation centers across Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, and United States.
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