Treaty will lead to more investment in India: US envoy | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Treaty will lead to more investment in India: US envoy

delhi Updated: Oct 08, 2009 23:07 IST

The completion of the bilateral investment treaty by India and the US will lead to increased investment by American companies in infrastructure sectors, US Ambassador Timothy J Roemer said in New Delhi on Thursday.

"We are negotiating a bilateral investment treaty. Once in place, this will encourage the entry of billions of dollars in foreign direct investment (FDI) in infrastructure," Roemer said during his interaction with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

This was his first meeting with Indian business leaders under the aegis of CII. Instead of speaking from the dais, Roemer stepped down to the audience and walked across the room as he spoke about India-US relations in the economic sphere.

The envoy said that there had been "successful rounds in late spring-summer" on negotiating the bilateral investment treaty. He said that there was "great promise" that the treaty would be wrapped up after another round of talks in December.

"Many American companies are interested in coming here if certain things happen. One of the most important things is the treaty which will give safeguards in case of risk," said Roemer, a former six-term Congressman from Indiana.

He admitted that that edifice of bilateral relations was built on the success of the India-US nuclear deal.

On cooperation in the civil nuclear industry, Roemer said there were "three to four issues" to be completed. "Then, there is a very simple fix on licensing and a declaration from India's side on nuclear parks," said Roemer.

Two American companies, General Electric and Westinghouse, will be allocated sites for constructing nuclear power plants with 10,000 mega watt capacity in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

Another sector for economic collaboration is green energy. "As we go into the prime minister's visit and discuss how we expand strategic ties, green energy is one of those areas," he said, referring to the November state visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He also spoke about the 'End Use Monitoring Agreement' which was signed recently during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit. "This will lead to a hike of $15 billion to $18 billion in defence deals," he said.

Terming Lashkar-e-Taiba as a "regional enemy of both countries", he said that India and the US had "common interests" in the fight against terrorism.

Roemer said US President Barack Obama was "very excited and very devoted" to relations with India. "He spends a lot of time on this," he stated.