US official to push for a more open India

Washington, October 24:

The US treasury secretary Henry Paulson embarks on a trip to India on Sunday to push New Delhi for a fundamental economic shift to being more open to and compatible with the global economy.

His schedule in India includes meetings with Indian finance minister P Chidambaram, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and an appearance at a conference in New Delhi on India’s rise as an economic power.

The visit is designed to demonstrate India’s importance to US economic policy makers, he told US-India Business Council (USIBC), a business lobby seeking to strengthen US-India commercial ties at a pre-visit briefing.

His intent is to focus on deliverables that can be achieved on this mission, as well as lay the groundwork for issues that could be resolved over the course of the next 15 months, Paulson said according to USIBC’s newsletter.

The USIBC delegation, representing 250 of the largest US companies investing in India and two dozen of India’s largest global companies, raised key issues centring on themes including intellectual property, pharmaceuticals, agricultural productivity, retail, manufacturing, services and infrastructure and green India, it said.

Paulson, accompanied by a cross-section of senior company officials, will begin his India visit on Sunday in Kolkata, where he will meet West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and local business leaders, the treasury department said. He will then travel to Mumbai where he will co-chair the US-India CEO Forum Infrastructure conference with Chidambaram on Monday. He also will also meet Reserve Bank of India governor YV Reddy and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chairman M Damodaran.

Paulson recently discussed the need to build up Mumbai, India’s financial capital, as a major global capital markets centre. He will participate in the Fortune Global Forum, a conference on India’s ascendance as an economic power, in New Delhi on October 30 and return to Washington the next day.