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Singh puts nuclear power deals, investment at top of agenda

Kyodo

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said achieving progress in civil nuclear cooperation and encouraging Japanese companies to invest in his country will be high on the agenda during his trip to Japan this week.

“It will be my effort to use this visit to strengthen our strategic and global partnership, which also includes trying to reach an agreement with regard to civil nuclear energy cooperation,” Singh told reporters Saturday in New Delhi. “I do recognize there are problems in Japan and there are elections to the Upper House which take place later this year. But I do hope that we can make progress in the civil nuclear energy cooperation (field).”

Singh, who will arrive Monday for a four-day visit, also called on Japanese industry to contribute to India’s economy, which is forecast to grow by 6 to 6.5 percent this year and potentially 8 percent over the next couple of years.

“I invite the business community of Japan to take full advantage of enormous opportunities at our opening up a liberalized Indian economy,” he said, stressing the “enormous” scope for investment in his nation, particularly in manufacturing and renewable energies.

“We require robust participation of Japanese business and industries in India’s economic development. Today, we have more Japanese companies operating in India than ever before,” Singh said. “But in terms of their contribution to the Indian growth process, much needs to be done.

“We have plans to invest about $1 trillion in infrastructure in the 12th five-year plan, that is (from) 2012-2017. And I see an enormous role for the Japanese industry to contribute not only to infrastructure development of India but also to accelerate the tempo of the manufacturing sector in India’s economy,” he said.

“We have the shining example of Maruti Suzuki, but more such examples could be created. We would like to see Japanese investments in energy — clean energy, renewable energy.

“We would like Japan to repeat what (it) has done for Delhi Metro Rail, we would like more such Metro Railways to come up in our metropolitan cities, and in all these areas I see enormous opportunities to strengthen cooperation between India and Japan,” he said.

To help Japanese and other foreign investors, Singh explained he has set up a Cabinet Committee on Investment to examine in detail the factors hampering the growth of India’s infrastructure sector.

“We have to increase the investment in infrastructure, which has been a big bottleneck, which has held up our growth process. We would like to remove these bottlenecks,” he said.

The Indian leader also said that both he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will review overall Indo-Japanese relations.