South Asia

Investors pledge billions at Bangalore summit

Infosys training centre
Image caption The investments announced could mean thousands of new jobs

A summit in the southern Indian city of Bangalore has concluded with international and domestic investors pledging billions of dollars.

But analysts have cautioned that not all the money that has been promised will be forthcoming.

"It is a big success. Investors have shown great enthusiasm," said Karnataka Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani.

Organised with great fanfare, the event attracted numerous large overseas and domestic companies.

These included the ArcelorMittal and Posco steelmakers, as well as the Indian companies, Infosys and Wipro.

ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal announced his company planned to invest billions of dollars in a steel and power plant in Karnataka.

Posco also signed a deal to set up a power plant in the state.

Infosys meanwhile announced that it was setting up a "new facility" in Bangalore which would provide employment to nearly 20,000 engineers.

Agreements worth billions of dollars were also signed during a similar event in 2000, but actual investments turned out to be much lower than the amounts pledged.

That was partly because the state government's plan to acquire farmland for industry was bitterly opposed by farmers.

They attempted to storm the summit on Friday in protest at the state government's policies, but were arrested by police.

There have been massive protests by farmers in several states in India against land acquisition for industrial projects.

Bur Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa dismissed the protests as politically motivated and said his government was committed to providing land to investors.

He said offers of investments had poured in for projects in the biotechnology, information technology, aerospace, steel, power and tourism sectors.

"We will cut the red tape and spread the red carpet for investors," Mr Yeddyurappa said, describing Bangalore as a "favourite global destination" for multinational companies.

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