In a significant indication of a possible expansion of his government’s liberalisation policies, Manmohan Singh said American business was welcome to invest in other areas such as agriculture-based businesses, including cold chains, agricultural marketing and food processing, manufacturing and mining

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, addressing a prestigious gathering of top ranking American CEOs and business leaders on Monday, made a strong pitch for American business to increase investment in crucial areas such as infrastructure. He invited it to explore the public-private partnership projects in infrastructure that are being set up in India. He was speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In a significant indication of a possible expansion of his government’s liberalisation policies, Dr. Singh said American business was welcome to invest in other areas such as agriculture-based businesses, including cold chains, agricultural marketing and food processing, manufacturing and mining. He also mentioned retailing and tourism in this regard.

Acknowledging the role of the American business community in persuading the U.S. Congress to support India’s civilian nuclear agreement, Dr. Singh announced that both India and the U.S. were now “finalising the details that will make the agreement fully operational.” Once that is done, “it will remove restrictions on the flow of technology in nuclear and many other areas.” This would open a large area of commercial opportunities for U.S. business. Dr. Singh’s remarks make it clear that the agreement on fuel reprocessing will be a major initiative emerging from his visit.

Climate change

Confirming earlier indications that the issue of climate change was being prioritised on the Indo-U.S. dialogue agenda and was linked to the issue of energy security, the Prime Minister said that while India was addressing the problem domestically through a National Action Plan for Climate Change, it was interested in exploring areas of cooperation with the U.S. on energy efficiency and clean energy. He announced that in his meetings with President Obama and others on Tuesday, India would sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change. This would provide a framework for pursuing bilateral cooperation in specific areas, he said.

Dr. Singh also assured the gathering of his commitment to economic reforms. “You should have no doubt on that score,” he said, adding that his government planned to push ahead on key reforms, especially “aimed at bringing the deficit under control while ensuring a strong expansion in investment in infrastructure.”

At this meeting hosted by the U.S.-India Business Council, Dr Singh said he and President Obama have reconstituted the Indo-U.S. CEO’s Forum with Ratan Tata and David Cote as co-chairs. With several Indian business leaders arriving here to give a push to the drive to get American business to invest in the Indian economy, the U.S.-India CEO Forum held its meeting on Monday afternoon.

More In: National | News