Taranjit Singh Sandhu with president Trump.

India sees the US as a very close friend and a strong partner critical to transforming the development aspirations of the country’s people into reality, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu told Indian American leaders in the IT sector.

In a roundtable with The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) Global and TiE DC on Thursday, he said the scale and size of India offers a huge opportunity to entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders.

“One thing you cannot miss about India is its size and scale. A huge domestic market of 1.3 billion people, the ability to leapfrog in technology, and large skilled workforce. That’s India for you,” Sandhu said.

Asserting that India would need around $4.5 trillion for investment in infrastructure by 2030, the envoy said, “Whatever we do is not enough, given the sheer scale. This is a challenge as well as a huge opportunity.”

India has launched an information repository of about 7,000 projects, identified under the National Infrastructure Pipeline. Both public and private investment would be the key to financing infrastructure investments, he said.

“There are immense opportunities for investment across sectors in India. Be it hydrocarbons or renewable energy, health and pharma, IT and digital services, or electronics manufacturing, food processing. You can make in India, and make for the world,” Sandhu told members of TiE and entrepreneurs from across the globe.

He said prime minister Narendra Modi is a great believer in technology as an important tool for socio-economic empowerment.

“The social welfare programmes that have made an actual difference to citizens in India have been made possible, only through technology.

“Be it the world’s largest biometric programme Aadhaar or the largest financial inclusion programme Jan Dhan Yojana or the largest health assurance programme Ayushman Bharat, all have technology and innovation, embedded in them,” Sandhu said.

Modi addressed two major virtual global summits this week and the US was a lead partner in both. One was on science and technology and the other on Artificial Intelligence for social empowerment, Sandhu said.

“These summits underline an important message: the spirit of collaboration and cooperation. India has always believed in sharing its resources, expertise and skills to the world. At the same time, we have also been open to new ideas from all corners,” he said.

“We have always believed, the world is one family,” Sandhu said.

In the post-COVID world, a concerted and focused effort is needed to advance the remarkable business and people-to-people linkages between India and the US, he underlined.

“We have indeed a come a long way, but we do have a long way to go given the true potential of relations,” the Indian ambassador said.