Washington: A key US Congressional committee has convened a hearing on economic conditions in India just ahead of the crucial meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama this week.
Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of Senate India Caucus and chairman of Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, will chair the hearing titled “Assessing the Investment Climate and Improving Market Access in Financial Services in India,” on Wednesday.
The hearing will examine US-India economic relations, as they are likely to be at the forefront of Singh’s working visit to the White House on 27 September. The hearing was previously scheduled for 11 September, but was postponed because of the Syrian crisis. The hearing will focus on regulatory and statutory barriers to foreign direct investment (FDI) in the banking and insurance industry, prospects for liberalization of market access for the financial services industry, and opportunities to increase bilateral investment between the US and India.
A panel of expert witnesses including Arvind Subramanian from the Peterson Institute for International Economics will describe the current investment climate at the regional and national level including major challenges to modernising the Indian economy. Other panelists included Richard Rossow, director for South Asia, McLarty Associates; and Reena Aggarwal, Robert E. McDonough professor of business administration and professor of finance, Georgetown University.
Separately, a bipartisan group of three top US Senators, including Warner, has said that a strong relationship with India is critical to American interests. Welcoming the Indian prime minister on his US visit, senators Warner, John Corny and Robert Menendez introduced a Congressional resolution which says that there is a strong potential for upping the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Commending the progress of the partnership, the resolution acknowledged that economic reforms has opened new channels for FDI, and believed further liberalization can bring increased prosperity to both the countries.
The resolution said the discussions between both the leaders should facilitate further economic liberalization, open new channels for FDI, continue progress towards a bilateral investment treaty and implement the US-India civil nuclear agreement.
“While we have made significant progress in transforming the US-India relationship from a friendship to a true partnership, we must continue to implement many of these policies that have been under discussion for several years,” said Warner. “I hope these meetings with Prime Minister Singh and the delegation provide that opportunity,” he said. US and India share a commitment to democracy, security, prosperity, and the rule of law, and that has formed the bedrock for a growing economic and security relationship, said Senator Corny, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus.
“It is my hope that the US-India partnership, based on mutual respect and trust, will continue to grow and provide even greater opportunities for the people of both nations,” he said.