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Since 1st March, 1999
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PM logic: Help us & help yourself
Hillary Clinton and Manmohan Singh greet each other before the special joint meeting of the Congress on Capitol Hill. (Above) Singh gives his autograph to a Senator after addressing the meeting. (Reuters, PTI)

Washington, July 19: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today told the US Congressional Caucus on India over lunch that India sought to transform “the nature of the political discourse” with the US and in South Asia through the beneficial impact of its economic development.

Inviting American investment to India, Singh said to strengthen investor confidence India was putting in place a new intellectual property rights regime, removing restrictions on joint venture expansions and resolving the controversy over Enron’s investment in the Dabhol power project.

The newly created India-US CEOs Forum, he hoped, would “infuse enthusiasm in the US investor community”.

To emphasise the advantages to be had from a growing Indian economy, the Prime Minister said rising income levels and purchasing power in India had created demands for American products and services and the Open Skies Agreement had led to emergence of a strong tourism and travel industry.

“A billion-strong society developing at our current pace in a democratic framework has no historical precedent. We are one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Such an Indian economy is in the long-term interests of US trade and business,” he told the India Caucus chaired jointly by Senator Hillary Clinton (Democrat) and Senator John Corny (Republican). The India Caucus members intervene on behalf of India and Indian Americans in the two Houses of the US Congress.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the Indian vision of economic prosperity was not a narrow one. “If India’s current economic growth is sustained, it will impact for the better on our neighbourhood and bring out the true development potential of a naturally integral region. Those of our neighbours who have identified in our growth an opportunity to advance their own economies have benefited substantially,” he argued.

For the first time, the Prime Minister argued that having India in the UN Security Council would be in the interests of the US. “In addressing the emerging and future challenges of global interdependence, the question that must be asked by our friends is whether or not the interests of the United States would be better served by India’s presence in the UNSC. I believe that the commonalities of our interests far outweigh any differences,” he argued.

The Prime Minister felt that the India caucus could play an important role in taking the India-US relationship beyond the stereotype of ‘estranged democracies’. He said: “The India caucus can join hands with government on both sides, not just in removing the misperceptions and stereotypes of the past, but also in pooling our collective efforts to realise the hopes with which our two countries now view this partnership.”

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