Kolkata, May 7 (IANS) Making a strong pitch for further opening up of the Indian economy, especially with regard to foreign direct investment (FDI) in multibrand retail, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday said it would raise the standard of living in India.
"I come with certainly a belief that India can compete with anybody, anywhere. And the more open India becomes over time, the greater is the rise in the standard of living and (the more) the opportunity for the broader number of people," Clinton said during an interaction at the La Martiniere school for girls here.
"But I also understand politics. And I understand how lots of these decisions are difficult," she said.
Referring to the US desire to try to open the (Indian) market to multibrand retail, she said the primary reason for this was the "enormous amount of experience that has been brought to India by supply chain management in developing relationships with producers" so that their produce was easily and abundantly available and of larger quantity.
In this connection, she mentioned the factory of Fritolay India, the snack food division of Pepsico, in West Bengal, and said: "There are a lot of benefits that may not be immediately perceived."
With her visit taking place in the backdrop of speculation that she would raise the India-Bangladesh Teesta treaty with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Clinton said: "Water is an issue about the world that will be increasingly contentious."
"We have to do a better job of trying to find a win-win solution for everybody because the alternative will be perhaps worst than conflict, leading up to dislocation, destabilisation, refugee flows, famine and other kinds of problems that we are seeing in places like north Africa."
"We have to work together in the international community," she said.
Clinton clarified that the US does not have any interest on how water issues are resolved. "But we know from working on our own projections what will be the hard issues in future unless water issues are properly dealt with," she added.
Besides FDI, she also said the US wants "greater debate" on civil nuclear cooperation.
"We want to have far greater debate and dialogue on FDI and civil nuclear cooperation. US was in conversation with Indian government on those issues for a long time," she said.
Replying to a question on the Indian Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act passed by parliament last August, Clinton said: "We have made it clear to the government that under the legislation that was passed, it would be difficult for US companies to participate."
"We're still discussing this and hoping there's a way to work it out," she said.
The US has objected to some provisions of the Indian nuclear liability bill which allows citizens to file tort claims for damages and the nuclear plant operator's right of recourse against nuclear suppliers.