It's Bangalore-Buffalo bhai-bhai once again. Two years after US President Barack Obama annoyed Indians with his call, 'Say no to Bangalore, yes to Buffalo', the Americans are back in India's Silicon Valley, wooing entrepreneurs, techies and students.
US commerce secretary Gary Locke, currently on a visit to India, addressed a gathering of professors and students of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore.
Emphasising the importance of innovation, Locke noted that the IISc was 'heir' to a long lineage of scientific discovery. But India needs to create a system of laws and regulatory infrastructure to encourage freer flow of ideas, people and technologies across borders, he added.
"India is still working to establish a robust system of intellectual property protection, which is the cornerstone of an innovation-based economy," pointed out Locke. "Over time, countries that do not have strong intellectual property will face two equally unappealing options: either their scientists, engineers and businesses will lose the incentive to innovate, or they will decide to innovate somewhere else."
According to Locke, skills represent just half the equation. Citing the examples of Vinod Khosla, venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, and Vinod Dham, the commerce secretary said: "Somewhere in this gathering is the Vinod Khosla of clean energy or of medical innovation." But Khosla's venture was a success in the US because of its legal system that protected his intellectual property, he added.
"What he did in America was also good for the whole world, as millions of people and businesses became more efficient and more productive as a result of technologies he pioneered," said Locke.
The US commerce secretary, accompanied by a powerful business delegation comprising two-dozen leaders, is seeking to increase trade ties with India. Bilateral trade between India and the US was up by 20 per cent during the first nine months of 2010 to $54 billion.