At a time when the government is on a reform overdrive, US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have met Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today.
Mr Geithner and Mr Bernanke are on a visit to India for two days, starting today, to participate in the third annual meeting of the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership (USIBC). They will then head to Tokyo for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. This is Mr Bernanke’s first travel to India.
“There is a lot of importance attached to his visit as this is the first time the Chairman of the Federal Reserve has ever visited India,” said Ajaypal Singh Banga, chairman of USIBC.
They are likely to discuss macroeconomic issues, such as monetary policy and inflation. The European debt crisis, the stress in financial markets, and US fiscal policy and US reforms are also likely to be discussed.
“I am sure insurance FDI (foreign direct investment), banking sector reforms will all be on that agenda,” Mr Banga said.
According to Rom Somers, President of USIBC, the visit could also see the strengthening of bilateral trade between the two countries.
“Mr Bernanke is the gentleman responsible for enabling bank branches of Indian banks to be opened in the US and I know that more banks (US) would want to open branches here. The more we can have commerce on both sides, the closer our economies will become intertwined. It will be good for both economies and good for job creation,” Mr Somers said.
Their visit also entails a meeting with Mr Bernanke's Indian counterpart, Reserve Bank of India Governor D Subbarao, and travel to Mumbai for a meeting with Indian business leaders.