• Naveen Aggarwal, Partner |
4 min read

The world has finally opened, but not as we knew it. Humans remain more connected than ever, however, globalisation seems to rapidly lose some of its ideological momentum. Cross border FDI has reached pre-pandemic levels, however the job market recovery has gone into reverse. China plus one strategy is gaining ground, while rising inflation is forcing countries to prioritise their self-interest. Work from anywhere is democratising workforce management, while layoffs are sweeping the US amidst recessionary threats.

As the world comes out of the pandemic and moves towards endemicity, the single biggest problem that corporations and governments around the world are trying to solve is of talent availability.

Amidst all this hullabaloo and uncertainty, comes the news of India helming the G20. India is and will likely remain the world’s largest talent powerhouse and the country’s role will be critical to shape not just global economic stability but closer home, regional stability and economic cooperation, which has been plagued with a perceptible shift in geopolitical sentiments and alignments in recent times.

Keeping geopolitics aside, there is perhaps no better time, for US and India to reinforce their partnership in this new dynamic and come out stronger across emerging areas.

Driving inclusivity through DIGITAL and HEALTH infrastructure

Undoubtedly, the most remarkable change of our era. On the digital acceleration timeline, 2022 became 2020, changing the way people worked, learnt, connected, and consumed. US & India, frontrunners in this race, can play a pivotal role in driving socio- economic inclusivity. Take health tech / agri tech for example, where both countries witnessed unprecedented collaboration in the last couple of years. There is a need to scale more of such examples across private sector, government, etc. The role of academia will be critical to create a triangulated view and both countries here have a real opportunity to take a pole position, given the natural cross border talent exchange.

Bringing CYBER on center stage

Remote workforce and wide scale cloud adoption have created less controlled work environments, thereby making ecosystems more vulnerable. Institutions are in mission mode, fighting to resolve this common threat. India needs to act bold and drive the cyber agenda to secure critical infrastructure and digital public platforms. It is time for India to position itself as a global engineering / technology talent hub for US companies to help drive their global cyber agenda. Add to that, India’s leadership in the Global Capability Centers (GCC) space will only help the cause.

Time for more ENERGY in this partnership

The G20 can provide the perfect platform to drive the agenda for responsible growth, where both US and India seem to be showing early signs of path breaking work. Also, the need for a broader ESG roadmap to combat issues around sustainable financing, gender and racial parity and governance structures related issues. US and Indian MNCs’ with presence in each other’s market is finding common ground on themes and metrics that matter to enterprise value creation.

INDO PACIFIC: better together

US recognizes India’s growing influence in the region and wants it to play a broader stabilizing role. One will need to see how, and in what ways the construct metamorphosizes itself to stay relevant. Under the emerging geostrategic post-Covid construct, Quad could be seen as starting point for US and India to push for a wider partnership across thematic areas. Time to look beyond defence and maritime security, and focus on areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, ENR, etc. as both countries together form a potent force to impact lives in the region.

Building back digital and green SUPPLY CHAINS

Indeed an eminent need for a new architecture to build global economic resilience and sustainability. In the last couple of years, supply chains have been brought closer home to protect against future disruptions and reduce over-dependency on countries. While the realignment won’t happen overnight, a real window of opportunity for India to create a compelling proposition and position itself as a trusted partner for US companies to set a foot on our investment shores. Semiconductors, for example, is a classic case, where there is renewed thrust through special acts and federal/state investment pools to encourage private sector investment and job creation nearshore. Keeping the geopolitical sensitivities and nation first interest aside, there is a real opportunity for US and India to cooperate better and create a safe passage for private sector investments to channel between the two countries thereby building a shared pool of talent, resources and best practices.


As the working groups under the Sherpas begin their India journey, a unique opportunity to showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage, hospitality, and tourism. Moreover, there is also a need to leverage the entrepreneurial ecosystem, venture capitalist networks and the Indo-American diaspora which will add depth and diversity to the strong people to people ties.

In summary, this is truly India’s global moment, something beyond just rotational responsibility, and must be capitalized on all fronts. The US and India should and hopefully will view this as precisely the opportunity to reinforce the bilateral trust for contributing to a larger global response and create newer horizons for sustained partnerships in the future. A message to the world on how the two nations will help steer global growth, resilience, and camaraderie in the 21st century.

A version of this article was published on 04 February, 2023 by The Times of India Online