In order for India to return to near 10 per cent growth and eradicate poverty, further reforms are necessary, according to US Ambassador Nancy Powell.

Addressing a meeting hosted by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, she said that the road to higher growth would require more economic opening and more foreign investment.

`` Since GDP growth is not an end in its own right, since ultimate growth is to raise standards of living and eradicate poverty, opening the economy and bringing more foreign investment take on a new urgency. You cannot defeat poverty without growth”, she said.

Ms Powell felt that US-India relations would continue to grow, no matter what the respective governments do.

She said that the US-India economic relationship of the coming century would be ``built on the phenomenal growth of collaboration between people, public institutions and private companies in both countries.” The relationships will grow but with right policies aimed at striping away barriers of all kinds in order to foster greater trade and exchange, those relationships can ``unleash untold potential”.

Ms Powell, who met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday, said that while policy headlines may come out of New Delhi and the business headlines out of Mumbai, it is increasingly apparent that what actually happens in India happens outside these two metros. “The deeper economic, political and social movements – the ones that actually determine where this continental nation is heading – they take place in Raipur, Ranchi, Patna, Durgapur Siliguri and Kolkata, she said.

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