US sceptical about pace of reforms in India

Mumbai, Nov 29 | Updated: Nov 30 2006, 07:01am hrs
Despite the ongoing bonhomie between the US and India, the US under secretary Franklin L Lavin on Wednesday raised serious apprehension over the continuation of reforms process in India.

Is India on a long-term path of reform, or are we simply looking at the Indian moment Would these reforms continue, or would India pull back asked Lavin in his address at the Indo-US business summit.

In the same breath, Lavin noted the Indian government and the people would answer this question. However, Lavin got strong replies from the minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar and commerce secretary Gopal K Pillai that India would never backtrack on the reforms process but would speed it up.

Lavin said the US supports Indias reform efforts, and it wants to see both economies continue to expand and improve.

What I would like to see is for every Indian company to have as much access to the American market as possible, and for every American company to have as much access as possible to Indian consumers, he added.

Pillai reiterated reforms are here to stay and called upon the US business and industry to tap various opportunities here. However, he said the pace at which these opportunities are being tapped by US companies was little bit slow compared to investors from other countries.

For example, Nokia came to India in August 2005 and would begin its commercial production of a million and half cell phones per month. Apart from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Dell and Flextronics are also in the midst of setting up their shops in India and they would in all employ over 70,000 people.

Kumar said though India would continue its reforms process and welcome US investment, it cannot be done at the cost of 650 million farmers and people from other sections.