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PM rolls out red carpet for American investors

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 09:02

Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday made a vigorous pitch for attracting more American foreign investment in areas ranging from infrastructure to agriculture and green energy and underlined that no investor is more welcome in India than the investors from the US.

"India today is open for business in almost every sphere of economic activity," Manmohan Singh said after addressing the US India Business Council (USIBC).

"Hard infrastructure remains a critical bottleneck in our aspiration to achieve 9 per cent growth," he said.

Manmohan Singh stressed that there is enormous scope for American investments in the development of key infrastructure, including road, rail, airports and ports.

"We see enormous opportunities. All fields are open for economic participation," he said.

"No investor is more welcome in India than investors from this great country," Manmohan Singh said in response to a question from David Cote, CEO of Honeywell and the co-chair of the India-US CEOs Forum.

A day before he sits down for talks with US President Barack Obama, Manmohan Singh unveiled his vision of the India-US partnership that will blend strategic cooperation with intensified economic ties.

"A strategic relationship that is not underpinned by a strong economic relationship is unlikely to prosper," he said addressing the US India Business Council (USIBC) made up of top US companies investing in India.

"On the other hand, a web of economic relationships intensifies both business-to-business and people-to-people contacts, promoting a deeper and better understanding between countries."

"That is the kind of relationship we want with the United States," he said underlining that "India`s new and evolving relationship with the United States is in many ways the natural consequence of changes in economic policies and business practices."

Assuring American business that India will continue down the road for economic reforms and will recover its economic growth rate of nine percent that was dented by the global economic crisis in two years.

Pitching for greater American investment in areas ranging from infrastructure to agriculture and defence, Manmohan Singh said economic reforms started by India in the 1990s will continue.

"Wherever I meet businessmen to talk of our plans for the future, the question I am most often asked is whether economic reforms will continue," he said.

But "you should have no doubt on that score. The economic reforms of the past have brought us advantages and I can assure you that we will continue down the road."

"We might do it gradually, and in a manner which builds a consensus for change. But I assure you we will persevere," he said.

The prime minister added that his government will push ahead with key reforms in myriad areas, specially those aimed at bringing the deficit under control while ensuring a strong expansion in investment in infrastructure.

"Tax reforms, especially the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax, are a very important part of the agenda. So also are financial sector reforms," he said.

He also assured American business that legal reforms aimed at reducing delays are another priority of his government.


First Published: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 09:02

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