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India provides highest return: Kumar

This century clearly belonged to Asia and this decade to India, Kumar said speaking at a function in New York.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 16:11 IST

Asserting that India provides highest return on foreign investments than any other nation, Minister of state for commerce and industry Ashwani Kumar told investors that the country is poised for a massive expansion in the manufacturing, infrastructure and food processing sectors.

This century clearly belonged to Asia and this decade to India, Kumar said speaking at a function organised by the India-America Chamber of Commerce in New York on Wednesday and asked entrepreneurs to seize this moment before it is too late.

Any investor who does not seize the opportunity would have missed the opportunity to make very very substantial amount of money, he added.

But Kumar warned that India is not a country meant for short-term investments. It is suitable for medium and long-term investments and no well run foreign company has ever complained of losing money.

It is reputed foreign financial analysts who have concluded that India provides maximum return on investments, more than even China, he told the meeting attending by more than 100 investors including several from major American multinationals.

Introducing the minister, Chairman of the Chamber Rajiv Khanna gave facts and figures to underscore the progress that India is making. But Kumar said there is a world beyond statistics which should not be ignored.

However, even statistics, Kumar added, would show the success story being witnessed in India. Currently, India is growing at the rate of 8.1 per cent and is seeking to increase it to 10 per cent.
 
Even at the current rate, he emphasized, its economy will be grow to $1.6 trillion within ten years.

Seeking investments in manufacturing sector, he said the government planned to increase its contribution to the GDP from current 16 per to 24 per cent. Though India is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables, less 2 per cent of its produce is processed and the processing industry itself if capable of absorbing more than $33 billion, he said.

Referring to the civilian nuclear deal between India and the United States, which is now before US Congress, Kumar asserted that it in the interest of both the countries.

Kumar told the American entrepreneurs that it is equally important for the United States for it means billions of dollars of business for the US as also European companies as India imports technology and equipment.

However, he said the existing strong ties between the two countries are not based merely on economic cooperation though it is an important part and gives impetus to the relations.

But the main anchor, he said, is the "shared perception" of the world order, an order which was not created by them but whose challenges they have not option but to face. The major challenge is terrorism of which both the countries are a target.

Besides there are the issues of poverty, disease, HIV/AIDS and corruption. The most enduring principle that sustains relationship between the two is their common belief in an inclusive democratic society based tolerance, Kumar said, adding these are the fundamental values that both USA and India shared.

The Minister said India is not looking for economic growth without job growth. Therefore, it is planning manufacturing facilities in the hinterland, he told the investors, pointing out that 650 million people depend live in rural areas and depend on agriculture.

He sought cooperation in agri-industries including biotech and bioscience. He urged the American-Indian investors to engage entrepreneurs in the United States as also India to get the investment especially in the key sectors he had enumerated.

Addressing a press conference, the minister said he had had very encouraging discussions with the CEOs of major companies whom had met individually as also in groups.

There is a great deal of interest in India and he plans to lead a business delegation to build upon the discussion he had had during the next few weaks.

Replying a question, he said India is expanding its economic ties with the Middle Eastern countries. There were no complaints for the entrepreneurs doing business in India whose companies he said are treated on par with the Indian entities.