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Ahead of US visit, industry captains meet PM

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New Delhi , July 14

TEN top captains of the industry, including Mr Ratan Tata, Mr Mukesh Ambani and Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, today met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, ahead of his forthcoming US visit.

They were seeking guidance on the issues they would raise during the meeting of the Chief Executive Conference, where the PM is slated to announce setting up of an Indo-US CEO Forum.

"When the PM is in Washington next week, he and the US President, Mr George Bush, will announce constitution of an Indo-US CEO Forum with 10 senior business leaders from India and 10 senior business leaders from the US. At the meeting with the Prime Minister today, Mr Tata, who is also chairman of the Investment Commission, Mr Nandan Nilekani, Mr Ambani, Mr Y.C. Deveshwar, Mr Analjit Singh, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw and Mr Deepak Parekh were present," Dr Sanjay Baru, media advisor to the PM, told reporters after the hour-long meeting.

He said the meeting discussed issues that the forum would focus on. "The leaders of the Indian industry told the PM that there was a unique opportunity for India. At the moment India is in the eye of the world, and boardrooms across the world, particularly in the US, are looking at India very seriously. This was a unique opportunity for India to walk its way in the international market to attract more investment," he said.

Other issues that came up during the interaction included a larger role for India in the international market and domestic companies making their presence felt in the US, Dr Baru said, adding that the idea was to use business as a bridge between India and the US.

"The PM has repeatedly said that India needs at least $150 billion of investment in the next 10 years, particularly in the infrastructure sector. We have had major investment announcements in the recent past such as Posco investment in Orissa or the Japanese decision to invest in Railways. But the idea is to step up the rate of investment in the Indian economy," he pointed out.

With regard to the Dabhol issue, he said its resolution was a positive development and would give an indication that India was serious about addressing issues that have been hurdles in Indo-US bilateral trade.

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