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India and USA Relationship on Smart Cities, Comment

Co-operation and mutual understanding are two virtues that can fortify and sustain a good relationship between countries. India and U.S.A have, in the past, shared a good, healthy relationship in the international political and business environment. India's B.J.P led government, it seems, intends to maintain such a relationship and continue to forge ahead keeping in view the strengths and limitations of both the nations.

The last quarter of the year 2014 witnessed India's Prime Minister, Mr. Modi visiting U.S.A where he expressed his vision for India. His enigmatic personality and fervor left every one enthralled with expectation of what he has in store for developing India. He encouraged American and Indian American people to invest in India and promised to formulate policies which would ease out any barriers in trade between the two countries.

Emphasizing upon the need to develop and increase bi-lateral trade and business between the India and U.S.A., he aroused interest of many multi-national companies and entrepreneurs.

Apart from other many projects, one that has crystallized into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) is that of building Smart Cities in India. A Smart City is one which is equipped with high-tech communication capabilities. If implemented successfully, it shall enhance performance and well-being, it shall help in reducing costs and lower the consumption of resources and provide better and active communication with citizens.

The need for a smart city is felt only today as a response to sprouting urbanization. Building of smart cities is a part of Mr. Modi's plan of creating a 'Digital India' in which he envisions to create 100 such cities.

We recognize that U.S.A has ample strategic interface while India holds a basketful of unutilized resources. Combining the two countries' efforts can result in a great development project.

The three cities included in the MoU are Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, Ajmer in Rajasthan and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. As per the MoU, teams have been set up for each city comprising of three representatives, one from the Central Government, one from the State Government and one from the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA). Each team is required to prepare a report within three months of its formation on the available resources in each city, the support that a State Government can provide how to coordinate resources, and how to optimally utilize the identified resources to the best.
Such report shall then be assessed by the American counterpart and accordingly set up infrastructure, provide strategic planning and allow investment in such cities. The two nations have rightly identified the need to foster growth and development in today's economically delicate environment. No country is self sufficient by itself, for it to grow and acquire stability; it must allow free flow of funds, technology and knowledge.

A successful implementation of this MoU may create a very strong and close knit relationship between the two countries. It will also help in casting away any spells or doubts among other countries with regard to red tapism in India.
As a nation we have seen India transform and taking leaps forward to establish its importance and presence in the international environment.

Implementation of this MoU shall also help in reducing the problem of brain drain because of which India has been losing quite a lot of talent over the years to foreign countries in search of better work opportunities and a better lifestyle. For every nation, its people are its wealth and through this project India is taking steps to hold back its wealth. The MoU has tried to strike a balance between the two nations, their ideologies and its people.

Aakanksha Sekhon

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