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Manmohan Singh pitches for more American investment

world Updated: Nov 24, 2009 02:30 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday pitched for more American investment in India, seeking a strategic relationship with the US underpinned by a strong economic relationship.

"A strategic relationship that is not underpinned by a strong economic relationship is unlikely to prosper," he said addressing the US India Business Council (USIBC) made up of top US companies investing in India.

"On the other hand, a web of economic relationships intensifies both business-to-business and people to people contacts, promoting a deeper and better understanding between countries.

"That is the kind of relationship we want with the United States," he said underlining that "India's new and evolving relationship with the United States is in many ways the natural consequence of changes in economic policies and business practices."

Assuring American business that India will continue down the road for economic reforms and will recover its economic growth rate of nine percent that was dented by global economic crisis in two years.

Pitching for greater American investment in areas ranging from infrastructure to agriculture and defence, Manmohan Singh said economic reforms started by India in the 1990s will continue.

"Wherever I meet businessmen to talk of our plans for the future, the question I am most often asked is whether economic reforms will continue," he said.

But "you should have no doubt on that score. The economic reforms of the past have brought us advantages and I can assure you that we will continue down the road."

"We might do it gradually, and in a manner which builds a consensus for change. But I assure you we will persevere," he said.

The prime minister added that his government will push ahead with key reforms in myriad areas, specially those aimed at bringing the deficit under control while ensuring a strong expansion in investment in infrastructure.

"Tax reforms, especially the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax, are a very important part of the agenda. So also are financial sector reforms," he said.

He also assured American business that legal reforms aimed at reducing delays are another priority of his government.