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'US is India's most important partner economically'

business Updated: Sep 28, 2011 09:08 IST

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As New Delhi embarks on the path of the next level of economic reforms aimed towards rapid growth and development, a top Obama Administration official said that India has no more important partner than the US in this endeavor.

"The modernisation of India and the lifting up of hundreds of millions of Indians out of poverty necessarily remains the focus of the Indian government.

"This extraordinary -- and so far extraordinarily successful -- effort requires India to sustain its high rate of economic growth, open markets for its goods and services, and attract the investment needed to realize its vision of inclusive development," deputy secretary of state Bill Burns said.

Burns his remarks on 'Is there a future for the US-India partnership?' said, "There is no more important partner for India in this endeavor than the United States. Over the past decade, our bilateral trade has doubled and then almost doubled again.

"Our total direct investment in India rose 10-fold, from USD 2.4 billion in 2000 to USD 27.1 billion in 2010."

The event was organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Brookings Institute, a Washington-based eminent American think tank.

The official said India-US bilateral economic relationship is anchored in the realisation that their long-term interests are essentially congruent and mutually reinforcing.

"Each of us has a large stake in the others' success. The tangible economic benefits of our relations -- for businesses big and small, for people in the middle class and those rising towards it, are irrefutable.

"The old narrative of outsourcing and zero-sum competition has given way to the reality of balanced, mutually-beneficial, and rapidly growing commerce between our nations," Burns said.

He said from USAID programmes to eradicate polio and promote maternal and child health to cutting-edge cooperation in clean energy technology, agriculture, science and space, "we are committed to being a partner in helping build a new India.”

Noting that the economic needs of the American people are central to its own diplomacy around the world, as they work to find new markets for American products and exports, Burns said the US therefore has an enormous stake in India's economic rise.

"India has grown on average seven-and-a-half per cent each year for the past decade, and American companies want to compete in India’s growing markets and take advantage of investment opportunities – not least the USD 1 trillion India expects to invest in building infrastructure by 2017.

"India is now the Export-Import Bank’s second largest portfolio, after Mexico," the official said.

"Together, we are drawing the best from both of our societies to make better products that compete and win in the global economy," he said.

Burns said Tata Steel has a plant in Ohio; Boeing uses engineers in Bangalore to design 787s whose parts are manufactured across America.

India’s direct investment in the United States has grown by an average of 33 per cent each year since 2005 and, in the decade between 2000 and 2010, increased from a negligible USD 96 million to over USD 3.3 billion, with Indian companies now employing tens of thousands of Americans, he added.