‘It has prohibited FDI in too many sectors’

Noting that India has prohibited foreign investments in too many sectors such as retail, U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday cited concerns over the deteriorating investment climate in that country to endorse another “wave” of economic reforms.

Still sounding positive about the Indian economy, “which continues to grow at an impressive rate,” he said that to some extent, India’s slower growth was a reflection of the larger slowdown in the global economy.

In an interview to PTI in Washington, Mr. Obama was careful not to be directly critical of the negative investment climate in India but cited the concerns of the American business community to make his point.

Many in the American business community, “one of the great champions of the U.S.-India partnership,” had expressed concerns that the investment climate in India was deteriorating. “They tell us it is still too hard to invest in India. In too many sectors, such as retail, India limits or prohibits the foreign investment that is necessary to create jobs in both our countries, and which is necessary for India to continue to grow.”

Refraining from prescribing any solutions to India’s economic difficulties, the President said: “It is not the place of the United States to tell other nations, including India, how to chart its economic future. That is for Indians to decide.”

Mr. Obama noted that “there appears to be a growing consensus in India that the time may be right for another wave of economic reforms to make the country more competitive in the global economy.”

Kashmir issue

Mr. Obama ruled out any solution from “outside” to the Kashmir issue.

He underlined that disputes between India and Pakistan could be resolved only by the two countries themselves.

Welcoming the India-Pakistan dialogue process, he said: “It is not the place of any nation, including the United States, to try to impose solutions from outside.”