Ties with India on an upward swing: US envoy

Ties with India on an upward swing: US envoy

Economic ties between India and the US are on an upward swing and American investment in the country has seen a more than three-fold jump in 2015-16, US ambassador to India Richard R Verma said on Tuesday while noting that a “stable tax regime and legal certainty” were key for growth in this area.

In Patna, to make a tour of “fast-progressing Bihar”, Verma underlined the utility of the single-window clearance system for attracting investment and hailed the southern states for having implemented such processes.

Lauding Bihar for the turnaround it has achieved in recent years, he said, “We hear about positive success story of Bihar in last few years. When I meet chief minister Nitish Kumar and governor Ramnath Kovind, we will identify specific areas where American establishments could have involvement.”

Verma pointed to the American multinational General Electric company manufacturing locomotives in Marauhra and Madhepura in Bihar at an investment of 2.5 billion dollar. The US company is to make 900 locomotives in Bihar, he said.

The US ambassador said that economic ties between his country and India would increase in the future. He added that American companies have two prime concerns before making any investment — “they look for stable tax regime and legal certainty for their investment”.

“US investment in India increased to $105 billion in 2015-16 as compared to $30 billion 10 years back,” he told reporters.  “About 200 US companies were present in India in 2005, which has increased to 500 in 2015-16,” added Verma.

More than 1.2 millions Indian got US visas in 2015, said Verma, who was accompanied by the US Consul General Craig L Hall on his visit to the state capital.  Asked about the JNU row, he underlined the importance of freedom of speech in a democracy, but refused to comment further, saying “the government is looking into the matter”.

On the sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan, he said the US Congress was looking into it. As to India raising its concerns over terror outfits operating from Pakistani soil, Verma said, “We take the concerns seriously and have asked Pakistan to take more effective steps to check terrorism and demolish safe heavens of the terrorists.”

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