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'Indo-US ties will hit a wall without reforms'

world Updated: Jun 25, 2013 10:02 IST

Joining the chorus of lawmakers with regard to economic reforms in India, a top American lawmaker cautioned that there is an increasing feeling in the Congress that India-US relationship would hit a wall, if New Delhi did not carry out the necessary reforms.

Noting that the India-US bilateral relationship has "lost momentum" after the historic civic nuclear deal, Congressman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Monday, "there is a growing view on Capitol Hill that our economic partnership with India will hit a wall if New Delhi does not make meaningful reforms on trade."

"Following the signing of the civil nuclear agreement in 2008, it was hoped that the United States and India could leave behind the Cold War legacy of mistrust, and open a new chapter in the US-India story. Even though we've created that opening, it appears to many that both countries have lost momentum," Engel said.

Market access, caps on foreign direct investment, forced localisation and compulsory licenses are complaints often emanating from American industry, he wrote in an op-ed in 'The Huffington Post'.

"Moving forward, if we are going to capitalise on bilateral trade opportunities with India, we should work with India to formalise a trade structure that makes the investment climates in the United States and India more attractive," the Congressman said.

The business relationship has always been a cornerstone of ties between the US and India, even when the governments were not on the best of terms, he said, adding that it is ironic now the concerns about business have become one of the key hurdles.

"We will, from time to time, disagree as any two nations, or as any two friends, inevitably will. Whether it's on how best to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program, or on enforcement of intellectual property regulations in the pharmaceutical industry, an important part of this transformation is that our two governments discuss and develop solutions to address disagreements," Engel said.

"Secretary Kerry's visit provides the Obama Administration with an important opportunity to re-energise the partnership," he wrote.