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India, US to double trade in three years

India, US officials discuss measures to boost investment, double trade in three years.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 11:44 IST

Indian and US officials on Thursday discussed a sweeping agenda for economic and scientific cooperation, a day after the two sides set a three-year target to double trade between the countries.

Creation of a joint investment fund, development of technologies and collaboration in agricultural research were among the issues being discussed by the officials as US President George W Bush was formally welcomed to India by President APJ Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmoham Singh at a ceremony at New Delhi's imposing presidential palace.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, head of India's federal planning body, and Allan Hubbard, Director of the US National Economic Council, were heading their respective delegations at the economic talks Thursday.

On Wednesday, the two sides set a target to double trade to over $50 billion in three years. Two-way trade totalled $26.8 billion (euro 22.5 billion) last year.

The two sides were also discussing how India can draw more investment from America, especially for infrastructure projects. India needs $150 billion (euro 125.5 billion) annually in infrastructure investment to sustain its current economic growth rate of about 8 per cent per year.

An Indian Commerce Ministry official said the two sides also agreed to hold an annual investment summit, alternating between the two countries.

Also a forum of 10 chief executives from each country, set up during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington last July, were to present a roadmap for increased business cooperation to Bush and Singh.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 11:44 IST