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$100 billion: The value Indian Inc creates for US

Last updated on: July 27, 2009 

Image: Indian Ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi George Joseph

In the last two years, foreign direct investment from India into the United States has grown more than the FDI from the US into India, excluding portfolio investments, Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar said recently in New York.

Indian investments, she stressed at the Indian Consulate in New York, have created 30,000 jobs in the US. Studies have found, she noted, that the value added by Indian business in the US in the last four-five years is about $100 billion.

US-India relations, she said, changed visibly in the last few years. Bilateral trade has doubled in the last four years.

She scoffed at the idea that the nuclear deal has been put in cold storage by the Obama administration. "My engagement with the administration says otherwise," she said.

$100 billion: The value Indian Inc creates for US

Image: A migrant worker carrying his belongings walks past an advertisement for a bank.
Photographs: Guang Niu/Reuters

"We hope to finish the discussion about the reprocessing of enriched fuel by the end of the year. That would pave for a concrete cooperation with the US companies. Several companies are keenly waiting for the opportunity," she said.

She said India is committed to a nuclear arms-free world, "but if others have nuclear arms, we have no other option but to have them."

She denied suggestions that the Obama administration is sidelining India.

"This administration wants to consolidate the gains from the earlier administrations and take it to the third level," she said. New Delhi, she added, is looking forward to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit for that.

$100 billion: The value Indian Inc creates for US

Image: An activist shouts slogans to protest against India's civilian nuclear deal with the United States.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters

When asked what she meant by the third level, she said she does not want to prejudge things. There is a wish list, she said, but it is not for sharing with the public.

She also noted a spectrum of areas for cooperation that encompass political dialogue, cooperation in trade, security, education, sciences and agriculture. She envisaged more US-India cooperation in areas like intelligence sharing, defense, etc. India, she said, has opened many sectors for cooperation, like education.

India is participating in the discussion on climate change and it is a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol. But the agreements will not be at the cost of development, she said.

"We have to ensure that all negotiations keep in mind about development. We emit 1.6 tons per capita greenhouse gases, while it is 20 tons in the US. China comes second after the US. India is way behind. We need to grow our energy basket."

$100 billion: The value Indian Inc creates for US

Image: Indian Ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

She noted the Indian prime minister's assurance that India would not cross the lowest threshold of per capita greenhouse gases emission.

She said the embassy continues to engage with the Congressional Caucus on India. "During economic downturn there may be a tendency to look inward and we do not want to point fingers," she said.

"I came at a time our relations is on an ascending path. With your support the relations have grown substantially. The nuclear deal is a major symbol of the growth," she noted.