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Pranab for more initiatives with US
Washington, Jun 23 (Agencies):
Published on 23 Jun. 2010 11:46 PM IST
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“We have been looking forward to this gathering and are very excited to continue the momentum from our first Strategic Dialogue session earlier this month, which also took place in the same room as well,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
Clinton said this while welcoming the Indian delegation led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and the Indian and American CEOs to the US-India CEO Forum, being hosted by the Department of State at the Benjamin Franklin Room.
“I’d like to thank Finance Minister (Pranab) Mukherjee, Commerce Minister (Anand) Sharma, (Planning Commission) Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia for coming to Washington again. The deputy chairman was here two weeks ago for the dialogue. It’s great to see him back so soon.
“We have a number of our American counterparts who are going to be joining us very soon: Ambassador Ron Kirk from the US Trade Representatives Office; Mike Froman and Larry Summers from the White House; Secretary Gary Locke from the Commerce Department, and Secretary Tim Geithner, who will also be joining us.
India to set up panel for boosting eco ties
WASHINGTON, Jun 23 (PTI): India will set up a high-level committee to identify areas for expanding economic ties with the US, from where it expects an estimated investment of $250-300 billion in infrastructure space.
The committee, to be set up under Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, would coordinate with various ministries and prepare a roadmap before US President Barack Obama’s India visit in November, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told PTI in an interview here. India needs USD 1 trillion of infrastructure investment, where there is still a gap of 25-30 per cent and can be filled in by the US companies, Mukherjee said.
Speaking after attending a meeting of Indo-US CEOs Forum here, Mukherjee said the US wants India to expedite relevant legislative actions for economic reforms like opening up of insurance, other sectors.
Terming his meetings here as very successful, Mukherjee said: “My bilateral discussions with Secretary of the State (Hillary Clinton) and the Secretary of Treasury (Timothy Geithner) clearly indicated that they are interested in widening and deepening the relationship between India and the US.
“On the whole I say, this was a good visit and all the meetings were successful.” “We have identified certain issues on which we should work together. And this was the recommendations made jointly by both Indian CEOs and the US counterparts - education, infrastructure, clean energy, bio tech and health,” Mukherjee said.
“They also suggested what are the impediments in fully exploiting the relationship between our two countries and a breakthrough of the long term ideas,” he noted.
ukherjee said that after returning to India he would “set up a committee, a small group, under Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, who will co-ordinate with all the concerned ministries on the issues which have been identified...”
The committee would then “prepare a road map on what could be done and what are doable, so that before (the US) President’s visit to India in November, both the leaders (Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) are in a position that these are the areas in which progress has been made and what further progress could be made, that could be known.”
Mukherjee said that Indo-US relations were “moving in the right direction” and the two contries would surely make breakthrough in major areas.
“I am quite confident that in major areas we will be able to make real breakthrough. Our relationship is expanding very fast. Despite the slowdown, I think, both way international trade is USD 37 billion.”
Asked why India was not getting much US investment into the infrastructure sector, despite it being a focus area, Mukherjee said: “We require more. It is incorrect to say that we are not getting. But we require more.
“Nearly one trillion dollar is the level of investment which would be required. 25 to 30 per cent of which ... still there is a gap. So this can be filled in by US companies, particularly in the long term infrastructure, for long term investment in road, shipping, communication, transport,” he added.
Asked whether the US counterparts in his meetings sought more opening up on issues like taxation and liberalisation, he said, “Certain issues that are pending, naturally they emphasized on it. For instance the opening up of the insurance sector, 26 per cent to 49 per cent, where the pending legislation is there.”
“Similarly to have the replicable model in respect of what we have done in the mega power project to replicate it in the sectors of road and others. There is also the land acquisition act, which is pending and rehabilitation of the displaced persons, these legislations are pending. So they expect that we shall have to expedite these legislative actions,” Mukherjee said.

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