US fin turmoil will have 'marginal' effect on India: Minister

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New York, Sep 17 (UNI) Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Ashwani Kumar said the current turmoil in the US financial services industry will have 'marginal' effect on India, but the country is capable of weathering any crisis.

"Some amount of effect is inevitable and it would be marginal," the minister told reporters in a brief conversation at the Consulate General of India, shortly before a reception was organized by the India-America Chamber of Commerce last evening. "I believe the current turmoil is a temporary situation." Mr Kumar said the Indian economy's fundamentals are strong - growth could still be 8 per cent this financial year, and 450 billion dollars is being spent by the government over the next few years on infrastructure.

Asked what would India do if the US Congress was to reject the civilian nuclear accord between the two countries, Mr Kumar said he would not answer any question on a hypothetical situation.

Later he told UNI that that the government was confident that by September 26, the accord would be approved by the Congress.

"It is our fond hope and firm belief that it would approve the deal by that date," Mr Kumar said. "The (civilian nuclear) partnership will alter the course of relations between the two countries." On the inflation front, the minister saw some improvement shortly.

"It has already come down from 12.6 per cent to 12.1 per cent," he said. "After the October-November festive season, there will be definitive moderation of inflation." Mr Kumar is in the US to deliver a series of lectures at Harvard University. He will also be available during part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to New York and Washington, expected to begin next week.

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