We Respect India's Debate on Retail Opening: US

By Arun Kumar

Washington, Dec 9 (IANS) The United States has said foreign direct investment in retail trade would be beneficial to both India and the US but it would wait for the debate over it to play out in a democracy like India.

"We understand that this is a domestic Indian issue. We understand the government's decision to allow time for a consensus to be forged. We believe that this is a deal that's in both our countries' interests," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Thursday.

Asked if the US was not disappointed that major American retailers are not going to have access to the world's second-largest market, he parried: "The debate that's going on now in India is similar to debates over economic policy in the United States."

"It's a domestic debate right now. We're very clear on our position. This is good for both our countries. We believe it should go forward, but we'll allow that debate to play out in India."

"I think it's self-evident that by saying we believe this is in the interests of both our countries that we believe this is a big deal," Toner said when pressed. "The Indian government knows how we feel about this."

When a reporter citing the civil nuclear deal suggested that the Indians just aren't delivering on their promises, he said: "Well, I wouldn't call it a whole raft of promises. Look, they have their democratic system. This is how democracy works.

"These big policy decisions need to be vetted and agreed upon and reached through political consensus. That process is playing itself out in both regards, and we're going to let it do so."


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