New Delhi, November 9:

The United States and India are making ‘excellent’ progress in talks on economic cooperation, US treasury secretary John Snow said today as he pressed India to further open its banking and insurance industry to foreign investment.

Snow arrived on Sunday on a five-day long visit to review progress on economic cooperation since prime minister Manmohan Singh and president George W Bush met in Washington in July. Today, Snow held talks with Montek Singh Ahlu-walia, the deputy chairman of the government’s main policy arm, the Planning Commission, and the co-chairman of the India-US Economic Dialogue launched in 2001.

Snow told reporters the dialogue was making ‘excellent’ progress but declined to elaborate. The slow-moving talks on economic cooperation, which got a new impetus from the Bush-Singh meeting in July, have five components: finance and investment, commercial exchanges, trade policy, energy and environmental issues.

Officials from both sides say they expect to thrash out some deals by the time Bush visits India early next year. Ahluwalia said his talks with Snow focused on India’s banking and insurance industry, funding for infrastructure projects and development of capital markets but no commitments were made by either side.