Manmohan pitches for dynamic economic ties with United States

Manmohan pitches for dynamic economic ties with United States

The prime minister was addressing a meeting of the US-India Business Council (USIBC), his first engagement here since his arrival on Sunday afternoon on a four-day state visit. Singh’s restiveness over the state of bilateral economic ties assumed significance in the backdrop of the current global economic downturn and its underpinnings on bilateral ties.

China, for instance, has been able to attract the Barack Obama administration’s attention in view of the enormous economic clout that Beijing holds in view of its large and rapidly growing business ties with the United States.
At present, the annual bilateral trade turnover between India and the United States is under US$ 50 billion, while the US-China annual trade turnover is close to US$ 450 billion.

China has also been attracting huge US investments.
In November 2001, the then leaders A B Vajpayee and George W Bush, at their summit meeting in Washington, had launched the strategic partnership ties with the objective of transforming and deepening the ties, and Bush had since said there was “no limit” to the scope for building a strong global partnership.

Unprecedented growth
Addressing the USIBC gathering, which included prominent business leaders from the two countries, including Indra Nooyi, the prime minister said while India had recorded an unprecedented average growth rate of 9 per cent for five years before it got disrupted by the global economic recession in 2008, the country was an attractive destination for massive investments.

Making a case for attracting US investments, Singh said there was no longer any doubt about India’s commitment to economic reforms, though reform policies would be implemented in a gradual manner ensuring domestic political support.
The prime minister identified several key areas for massive investments — energy, including clean energy, transport, urban infrastructure, mining, services such as financial services, retailing, tourism and defence — in private and public-private partnership.

The bilateral civil nuclear energy agreement, which was in the process of commercial implementation, would also provide a big opportunity for American investments in India, he said.  Singh invited US investment in agriculture as well. Investment in agriculture would include agriculture-based business such as in post-harvest segment, including cold chains, agriculture marketing and food processing.
The Prime Minister, who has the rare honour of being the first foreign dignitary to get a state dinner from President Obama on Tuesday, will separate talks with top officials of the Obama administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

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