Bernanke, Geithner visit India to boost economic ties
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (R) talks with U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during a meeting of U.S.-India Economic and Financial partnership in New Delhi on October 9, 2012.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke are visiting India together today. The two are there to boost economic ties -- last year trade between the two countries stood at $57.6 billion. They hope that figure will dramatically increase after India pushes through reforms to open up key sectors -- like retail -- to foreign investment.
If you want to see America's growing influence on India just visit any large shopping center. You'll see how popular American companies like McDonalds and Starbucks are with young people. Young Indians have embraced American culture over that of their old colonial rulers, Britain.
So on this trip, Bernanke and Geithner want to capitalize on this popularity for American businesses. They've met with the Indian finance minister and business leaders in Mumbai and issued positive statements about India relaxing it's restrictions on foreign companies.
They want to make sure that as Indian markets opens up, American companies will be the first to benefit from tapping into a potentially massive marketplace. The increasingly wealthy Indian middle class is between 300-400 million people.
The IMF forecasts a growth rate slowdown for India compared to last year, so Indian businesses will, on the whole, welcome foreign investment. Though, it's not a one-way visit, in return for allowing U.S. investment, India will want to boost growth in it's flourishing information technology sector by forging more links with the Silicon Valley in the U.S.