'India needs to shed its socialist legacies'
New Delhi, May 1: A top United States official today said it was India's 'great misfortune of gaining independence at the intellectual high water mark of Fabian socialism and third world nationalism' and lauded the country's recent attempts to usher in an era of market reforms.
''Unfortunately, those economic philosophies held India hostage for several decades. India still has to make up for many years of slower economic growth,'' US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Farklin L Lavin said in his address to the American Chamber of Commerce here on the occassion of its AGM.
But, Mr Levin had a good word for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's stewardship in leading the nation to a free market economy.
''India is led by a Former Finance Minister who fundamentally understands the power of market forces and the need to attract FDI in promoting economic development and allieviating poverty.'' Hailing President George W Bush's visit to India, Mr Levin said ''we will do our part to ensure that the recent up tick in the US-India relationship is not a short-term matter but an enduring relationship to our mutual satisfaction and interest.'' He said with a population of more than one billion and an economy with an eight per cent growth rate, India is increasingly an important factor, a location of investment, a platform for technology development and a market of interest to American compaies.
Referring to the growing closer engagement between the two democracies, Mr Levin announced that the US government would be adding a new officer position in Calcutta this summer to meet the growing needs of India. He noted that outside the US, the largest number of Commercial Service offices were in India.
''We applauded the liberalisation moves that India has already undertaken such as India's raising of investment caps in several sectors and lowering the import tariff on most industrial goods to 12.5 per cent --the latest in the series of important steps.''