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‘Retail FDI will benefit India’

Allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail would benefit the Indian economy, US deputy secretary of state, William Burns, said on Friday.

mumbai Updated: Dec 17, 2011 02:05 IST
Anshika Misra

Allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail would benefit the Indian economy, US deputy secretary of state, William Burns, said on Friday.

“If you look around the world reforms like this to open up important sectors of the economy to FDI have proven in concrete terms to be quite beneficial,” Burns told journalists while winding up his Asia trip in Mumbai on Friday.

Citing examples of developing economies such as China, Brazil, Burns said, “Reforms of this nature have brought big benefits creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.” He added that the US would support whatever opportunities reforms like these open up for American companies, which can make important contributions to the interest of Americans but also to India and its continued economic growth.

“We are envious of the high growth rates which India has and I am optimistic about the future of American economy,” Burns said while responding to a query on growing discontent within America with movements such as ‘Occupy Wall Street’.

“There is a lot of frustration in the US which is not exactly a secret,” he said adding that the frustration stemmed from economic issues, which go back to 2008 and continue today when “too many people are finding it difficult to find employment”.

Responding to a query on China’s plan to build a military base in Seychelles, Burns said that US’ emphasis on the Asia Pacific as a priority region was not aimed at containing China. “President (Barack) Obama has been clear that we welcome the rise of a prosperous and stable China, which can contribute to prosperity and security across Asia Pacific.

That does not mean we don’t have differences from time to time. But we have interest in working very hard with China towards a healthy relationship.”

Speaking on the deteriorating US-Pakistan relations, Burns said, “The reality is that the violent extremists are as much a threat to Pakistan and its future as they are to anyone else. It’s in our mutual interest to work against Al-Qaeda.”

He added that the US hoped that co-operation with Pakistan regarding the violent-extremists group would expand and increase in the future. “It is in Pakistan's own interest to fight against those groups.”

After withdrawing its military from Iraq, Burns said that in Afghanistan the US was committed to the 2014 deadline set by NATO to handover the responsibility for security to the Afghan leadership.