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Geithner to discuss growth with officials in India

WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will discuss economic stability, financial investment and building up infrastructure with Indian officials when he visits India next week, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

Geithner will meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and take part in the first meeting of a new U.S.-Indian economic panel in the capital New Delhi and also will visit Mumbai, the financial center, the official said.

The vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, Donald Kohn, also will be on the trip. The Tuesday-Wednesday visit is part of a U.S. effort to deepen the relationship with India, the world's largest democracy and most stable U.S. ally in a hostile corner of the globe.

Geithner, who is making his first trip to India as Treasury chief, will discuss challenges for the global economy and ways that India can move toward opening its economy to foreign investment, the official said in a briefing with reporters. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the department's policy.

Rich opportunities could come for U.S. financial firms if investments in Indian banks and other institutions were opened up, the official said. In addition, U.S. officials could learn from India's impressive experience in amassing financing from the private sector for infrastructure projects, he said.

The goal is to establish a "robust" dialogue between the two countries, the official said.

The United States is India's largest trading partner, with the volume of trade doubling in the past five years. President Barack Obama has said that broadening economic ties would help create much-needed jobs in the two countries as they emerge from punishing recessions.

After years of mutual wariness during the Cold War, U.S.-Indian relations are at a high point, thanks partly to the Bush administration's push to allow U.S. civilian nuclear trade with India.

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