India invites Australian investment in energy, infrastructure

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New Delhi, Sep 20 (UNI) Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal today invited Australian companies to make India their investment destination against the backdrop of a growing and stable investment climate.

Addressing the Australia-India Business Council Investors' meeting in Sydney today, he said India's growing and stable investment climate present immense opportunities for Australian companies, particularly in energy and infrastructure sector.

He said India offers a huge market and enormous business potential with a growing middle class in the country.

It also has the potential to become trade and business center of South Asia and East Asia with its proposed regional trade agreements with several countries and trade blocks in the near future.

Stating that trade between the two countries has been continuously expanding, Mr Bansal said the bilateral goods trade between India and Australia has seen a growth of 34.51 per cent between 2005-06 and 2006-07.

The total bilateral trade during 2006-07 was 7.7 billion dollars, making India the eleventh largest trading partner of Australia.

The minister said Indian investments in Australia are now well over one billion dollars, mostly in IT sector, while Australia ranks tenth and accounts for only about 2.37 per cent (1.92 billion dollars) of total FDI approvals.

He said FDI investment from Australia reflect neither the potential of Australia to invest, nor the absorptive capacity of India.

Mr Bansal urged the Australian investors to explore the natural complementarities between the two economies to achieve optimum levels of economic engagement between the two countries.

He added that investment by foreign institutional investors in Indian stock markets also reaffirms the confidence which the investors have in India's potential.

The FII investment was 10.9 billion dollars in 2003-04, 8.6 billion dollars in 2004-2005 and 9.2 billion dollars in 2005-06.

In the current fiscal, the net investments were 6.14 billion dollars upto February-2007.

The Minister said to further widen and diversify the investor base, the limit of FII investment in corporate debt in India has been increased from 1.5 billion dollars to two billion dollars and investment cap on government securities increased from 1.5 billion dollars to two billion dollars in April-2006.

This positive trend reflects the strong economic fundamentals of the country as well as the confidence of the foreign investors in the growth and stability of the Indian market, he added.

UNI

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