Washington: The US has welcomed India's recent economic reforms to open up the multi-brand retail and expressed hope that more measures may also be in the offing.
"I think that particularly the decision to open up the multi-brand retail is particularly welcome among our companies here," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told reporters yesterday.
"I've seen press reports today that already Wal-Mart has announced its intention to establish a multi-brand retail store, but also to increase the number of single-brand outlets that it has as well. So obviously that is welcome news for Wal-Mart and welcome news for US business," he said.
Noting that the Indian prime minister also announced a number of other important things in the aviation sector to increase diesel prices, he said: "this establishes a positive momentum, not only to help boost foreign investment, but also to help boost economic growth. So both of those will be very helpful to our businesses, and we certainly welcome those."
Blake said: "We understand that further measures may also be in the offing. So we look forward to hearing about that."
India and the United States, he said, continue to make progress to advance what President Barack Obama has called one of the defining partnerships for the US in the 21st century.
The Obama Administration, he said, is also encouraged by recent steps taken by the governments of India and Pakistan to initiate closer trade and commercial ties.
"Increased economic linkages between India and Pakistan will strengthen mutual understanding, create a natural foundation for a stronger bilateral relationship, yield dividends for the citizens of both countries, and open up the potential for wider trade in the region," he observed.
When asked to comment on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's remarks in his speech to the UN General Assembly that Kashmir is a symbol of the failure of the world body, Blake said it is one of the most sensitive issues on India-Pakistan talks agenda.
"Obviously Kashmir is one of the most sensitive issues on that agenda, so that's probably not going to be the first thing that they talk about. I think there is good progress in the bilateral dialogue, and we welcome that progress, and I?m sure that that will continue," he added.