Tatas’ Singur experience an exception, US tells India

September 17th, 2008 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 17 (IANS) India has assured American businessmen that the problems faced by Tatas at their Nano plant did not indicate a “pattern” and climate for foreign direct investment was good in India.In fact states are vying with each other to get investment, Parliamentary Affairs minister Vayalar Ravi said here Tuesday, as was shown by offers of land and other facilities that came to the Tatas when they considered shutting down their Singur, West Bengal, small car plant in the face of the farmers agitation.

“There are government of India guidelines and States are competing,” he said when asked at a luncheon meeting organised by the United States-India Business Council (USIBC)what kind of message the Tata experience would be sending to the American investors wanting to do business there.

In fact the approval of the landmark Indo-US nuclear accord will open new opportunities for them and contribute to energy security besides reducing global warming, Ravi said.

“The ratification of the agreement by the US Congress will strengthen Indo-US ties and open new economic opportunities for US companies in India and contribute to energy security,” he said.

The accord would also help India to combat climate change and strengthen global non-proliferation, Ravi said assuring that India would maintain its unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests.

Ravi is heading the first parliamentary delegation to visit the US after five years. It has members drawn from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha from all over the country representing the political spectrum. It also includes two ministers of state, Pawan Bansal and Suryakanti Patil.

India was making efforts to stimulate both domestic and foreign investments, he said, assuring US businessmen that the path of economic reforms in India is irreversible as there was a strong democratic consensus for this policy. “We shall do this by striking a right balance between risks and returns.”

India’s own future is now more closely linked with rest of the world, the minister said as the instability in its immediate neighbourhood, a conflict in the Middle East, a financial crisis in New York, the outcome of trade negotiations in Geneva, or a crop failure in East Asia have an immediate effect on the country.

“It is no longer merely the concern of businesses in Mumbai but also the compulsions of farms in Uttar Pradesh” said Ravi who also holds the portfolio of overseas Indian affairs.

India’s ambassador to the US Ronen Sen said that the bilateral relations had gone full circle, from close to feeling a sense of betrayal in the aftermath of the Tarapur experience (when India was denied US nuclear fuel supplies) to a radical, bold and a fundamental change.”

“We have a great tradition of relations…which is not inter-governmental” Sen said, adding the US-India relations is the “most broad based relations we have”.

Ashley Tellis, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the two countries have put in place a “new world” of relations by finally exorcising the ghosts of the past in concluding the nuclear deal.

“We are at the end of the road but not there yet,” said Tellis, an advisor to former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns during negotiations with the Indian Government on the 123 Agreement. But “We have a right to be hopeful…we have a right to be optimistic.”

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