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Jun 20, 8:46 AM EDT

India announces easing of foreign direct investment rules

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NEW DELHI (AP) -- India has announced radical changes in its foreign direct investment rules to attract overseas investment into its aviation and defense industries.

Defense and airlines industries can now be 100 percent foreign owned, after previous rules allowed 74 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Investments in pharmaceuticals, food products and single-brand retailing were also liberalized.

The prime minister's office announced the changes Monday, saying the opening up of key sectors of the economy would give an impetus to job creation and infrastructure development.

The changes were meant to liberalize and simplify the foreign direct investment policy to make it easier to do business in India, the prime minister's office said in a statement.

The foreign investment changes follow the announcement of a new aviation policy last week.

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