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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 13:31 GMT
India courts more US investment
William Harrison, chairman of JP Morgan Chase (left) and P Chidambaram, Indian finance minister
India and the US want to foster an economic partnership
India has urged US business leaders to up investment in the country, stressing that foreign capital has a key role to play in its economic development.

Finance minister P Chidambaram said India needed US money, technology and management expertise to help it fulfil its true growth potential.

The two nations discussed ways of deepening economic ties on the third day of President Bush's visit to India.

US firms have invested $5bn (2.8bn) in India since the start of the decade.

'Show us your money'

Microsoft, Dell and Intel have all announced major investments in India in recent months, reflecting global business confidence in the continued strength of the Indian economy.

This is a very different India from what we were 20 years ago
P Chidambaram, Indian finance minister

Mr Chidambaram said US investment could help to create jobs, improve the country's infrastructure and make India more globally competitive.

"Let me tell you, we want your money," he told business leaders accompanying President Bush on his visit.

"I want your technology also. I want your good management policies and good governance norms."

US firms' growing interest in India comes at a time when its trade deficit with the world's largest country stands at a record $10bn.

Foreign businesses often complain that access to much of the Indian economy is limited by stifling regulation.

Last month, New Delhi agreed to open up its retail and energy markets to more foreign investment despite strong opposition from Communist politicians, minority partners in the coalition government.

Economic reforms

Mr Chidambaram said the government was determined to proceed with economic reforms and was "confident" that it could secure legislation to allow more foreign investment in areas such as insurance.

"This is a very different India from what we were 20 years ago," Mr Chidambaram added.

"In the next 20 years, we will all be the more different. All these are opportunities which beckon investment."

US politicians continue to fret about jobs being lost to lower-cost countries in the sub-continent through outsourcing.

Outsourcing is expected to generate $22bn in income for India this year.

However, in a speech to entrepreneurs in Hyderabad, President Bush said the US had nothing to fear about competition with India.


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