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India to become world's manufacturing hub, says Sharma

With India committed to make itself the manufacturing hub of the world, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has asked US corporates to look at India as a long term business and investment opportunity.

Sharma made a strong pitch to US businesses at a conversation hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the US India Business Council (USIBC) in New York on Wednesday.

He outlined the various policies undertaken by the Indian government to invigorate manufacturing and to create the right conditions for inviting investments into the country, according to a CII media release.

Highlighting the steps taken by the government to spur business and investments in the country, Sharma spoke about the National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) being set up across India and the single window approval mechanism for investments.

He also mentioned the fast-tracking of critical infrastructure projects, use of technology to minimise paperwork for investment proposals, the efforts to tackle the emotive issue of land and the establishment of a cabinet committee on investments chaired by the Prime Minister.

While acknowledging that 2012 was a difficult economic year for India, Sharma pointed to the country's strong fundamentals such as thriving domestic demand, a high national investment rate (35 percent) and a high savings rate (31 percent) as factors that will continue to drive economic growth.

The Minister particularly emphasised that the US and India share a larger, strategic relationship with deep and growing engagements in sectors such as aerospace, nuclear, defence, agriculture, information technology, communications, science and technology.

Joint collaborations in science and technology, innovation, research and development have further strengthened the bilateral partnership.

He pointed to strong two-way investment flows, with US FDI in India pegged at $32 billion and Indian investments into the US projected to stand at $13 billion.

At the same time, Sharna stressed that partnership is a two-way process and that the imperative of free movement of skilled professionals is an aspect that needs to be recognized and respected.

To highlight the myriad business opportunities open to US and Indian companies, a high powered CII CEOs delegation is accompanying Sharma during his US visit.

Led by Ajay Shriram, president-designate, CII & senior managing director and chairman, DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd, the delegation includes Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII; Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and group CEO, Bharti Enterprises Limited; Analjit Singh, chairman, Max India Limited; Rajan Navani, managing director, Jetline Group of Companies; and Som Mittal, president, NASSCOM.