India eyes $500 bln investment in infrastructure by 2012: Minister

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Industry Ashwani Kumar today said the country expects an investment of about 500 billion dollars in the infrastructure sector by 2012.

''India is a rapidly growing economy and due to this, power networks, transportation systems and ports are facing huge demands.

We are paying particular attention to infrastructure and are encouraging foreign direct investments apart from domestic investments in transport, connectivity, power and energy, both in the rural and the urban sectors,'' Mr Kumar said here at the inaugural session of 28th India International Trade Fair (IITF).

Over 250 companies from 38 countries are participating in the the 14-day fair, organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), with twin themes of infrastructure and women empowerment.

''The large turn out of participants at the fair is a decisive testimony to the world's ccontinuing faith in the resilience and the future of Indian economy,'' the Minister said.

This year, Pakistan is the 'Partner Country' for the event, while the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the 'Focus Region'.

Regarding this, Mr Kumar said, ''Greater economic cooperation between Pakistan and India and, in a larger context, SAARC and ASEAN countries will ensure faster growth of the region, raising incomes and opening job opportunities for the people of the region...ASEAN countriies will increasingly come to view India as their natural trading partner in Asia.'' Over 7,000 Indian companies and nearly 100 firms from Pakistan will participate in the event displaying their products and services.

Six ASEAN nations, including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines and Singapore will also showcase their products in the fair.

The event was inaugurated by Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari. Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, Orissa Minister for Energy, IT&Culture Surya Narayan Patro and ITPO CMD Sheela Bhide were also present on the occasion.

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