Washington: Supporting the ongoing discourse in India over the issue of FDI in the retail sector, the United States has said even though it is of view that this is in the benefit of India, it would desist to comment on India's internal affairs.
"I think they have to work through their domestic political process and I don't want to comment on their internal affairs at this point," the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert D Hormats told reporters at a news conference.
Responding to questions about the decision of the Union Cabinet to put on hold its decision with regard to FDI in the multi-brand retail sector till the time a consensus is developed among all its stake holders, Hormats said that the United States has been discussing the issues with India for some time.
"The Indians are working it through their process. I think the Indians know our position. They know the benefits that we think would result from allowing this multi – brand retailing to take place in India," he said.
"I think they (India) know our view that it would be very beneficial to Indian farmers, Indian citizens, Indian consumers in general.
"But the details of how the Indian Government and the Indian Parliament and the Indian officials work this through, I think I'll leave to the Indians and not try to advise them on how to proceed," he said.
Later at another news conference, State Department spokesman Mark Toner asserted that this is a "domestic Indian issue" and it is not for the US to comment on it.
"We understand the government's decision to allow time for a consensus to be forged. You know, we believe that this is a deal that's in both our countries' interests," he said.
"I'm neither happy nor disappointed," Toner said when asked if the US is disappointed with the decision of the Indian government to put on hold FDI in retail.
"The debate that's going on now in India is similar to debates over economic policy in the United States. It's a domestic debate right now. We're very clear in our position. This is good for both our countries. We believe it should go forward, but, you know, we'll allow that debate to play out in India," he said adding that the Indian government knows how the US feels about this.
"Look, they have their democratic system. This is how a democracy works. These big policy decisions need to be vetted and agreed upon and reached through political consensus.
"That process is playing itself out in both regards and we're going to let it do so," Toner said.