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N-deal gets thumbs up from India Inc
M Karthikeyan in New York | September 23, 2007 17:31 IST
Indian business leaders see the civilian nuclear deal with the US as a treaty to increase American investments back home, but said political change will not shake investors' confidence.
"If this (123 Agreement) was to go through, this will be a very big signal... It will enhance US investments into India. Not only US but also other countries like France [Images], Germany [Images]... We are very hopeful that this will go through," said Nandan Nilekani, who is steering the 'Incredible India@60' brand building event in New York from Sunday.
'Incredible India@60' is an event celebrating the 60th year of India's independence.
To a specific question on whether the thought of political change bothered investors, he told reporters: "It is not an issue (for the investing community)."
The UPA government faces stiff opposition on the nuclear deal from the Left allies, which wants the agreement to be put on hold and not be operationalised for six months. However, the Bush administration is understood to be keen that India should complete the process this year.
Had the civil nuclear agreement not sailed into a political storm, it would have lent a different charm to the Indian industry's efforts to promote the country as a brand.
"This country works on signals...that will generate a lot of movement...this event if nothing else will generate a great amount of positive signal," said Confederation of Indian Industry President Sunil Mittal, who is also the chairman of Bharti Enterprises.
The CII along with the Ministries of Tourism and Culture is organising the week-long event that seeks to sell the story of the 'new India' to Americans and the rest of the world on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.
Both Nilekani as well as Mittal admitted that India still faced a lot of challenges in winning investors' confidence, but said the difficulty quotient of doing business in the sub-continent nation was getting lesser and lesser.
He said the one thing that visibly ails India is infrastructure, which the industrialist felt would take at least 15-20 years for the government to set right.
The US is India's major source of FDI, accounting for 21 per cent of approved FDI ($16.48 billion) between January 1991 and March 2004, according to government data.