Nooyi outlines agenda to boost Indo-US ties; moots investment treaty

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New Delhi, Sept 24 (UNI) Suggesting a three-point agenda for taking Indo-US ties to a new level, US-India Business Council (USIBC) Chairman Indra K Nooyi today said the inclusive growth, investment in education and health, and boosting infrastructure should drive the agenda for industry in both the countries.

Addressing a special roundtable on 'A Fresh Beginning: US-India Relations and The Third Wave of Investment and Reforms' here, PepsiCo Chairman also mooted a bilateral investment treaty between the two countries to give a new impetus to the trade relations.

Ms Nooyi said this will lead to the creation of jobs and opportunities in both the countries.

The roundtable was jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the USIBC.

Ms Nooyi also urged both US and Indian industries to come together to ensure that the benefits of India's strong growth reaches all facets of Indian society, particularly the rural populace.

''We need policies that encourage investment in rural areas, provide vocational skill-building and training that will increase the capacity of the entire system, from primary schools to colleges and post-graduate institutions,'' she said.

This, she said, would enable India to reap the benefits of its demographic profile.

On fostering inclusive growth, Ms Nooyi said that one way this could be achieved was through agrarian reforms. This was specially true as nearly 68 per cent of India's population lived in the rural areas.

''Both US and Indian industry can actively promote agrarian reforms through partnerships and other initiatives, and by disseminating information on global and domestic best practices through the country,'' she said.

In this context, she also emphasised on the need to build the necessary infrastructure that was needed to widen the markets for the country's agriculture produce.

''Today, it pains me that nearly 40 per cent of India's harvest of nearly every crop gets damaged before it reaches the marketplace,'' she said.

USIBC Chairman said that for India to meets its infrastructure needs, massive FDI and private sector investment is needed.

''The USIBC will continue to look for further openings in banking, insurance and pensions,'' Ms Nooyi said.

Other areas where both countries can join hands, she noted, were power, roads, clean water, ports, airports and defence sector.

In his address, Minister for Science&Technology and Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal said the time was right for the US and India to take their partnership to a new level, one that was on an equal footing.

Urging US industry to step up investment in India, Mr Sibal said that future decisions would largely be influenced by climate change and energy security.

He called for a mixture of affordable and sophisticated technology, ecological balance and investment for sustaining high growth.

UNI MP AK HS1652

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