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Caterpillar President ‘Very, Very’ Bullish on India

U.S. equipment maker Caterpillar is planning an aggressive expansion of its manufacturing and product support operations in India, says group president, Rich Lavin, in response to the South Asian nation's rapid infrastructure development.

**FILE** Rows of heavy Caterpillar equipment sits ready for shipment at the Caterpillar plant in Decatur, Ill.,in this April 20, 2007 file photo. For American companies with operations that stretch overseas, the slumping dollar has become a fiscal life preserver amid slower domestic economic growth and waning sales. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, file)
Seth Perlman
**FILE** Rows of heavy Caterpillar equipment sits ready for shipment at the Caterpillar plant in Decatur, Ill.,in this April 20, 2007 file photo. For American companies with operations that stretch overseas, the slumping dollar has become a fiscal life preserver amid slower domestic economic growth and waning sales. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, file)

“Our footprint in India is expanding pretty dramatically. We have about a $200 million capacity capital expansion project on the way right now,” Lavin told CNBC on Monday.

Last month, India’s Road Ministry unveiled an aggressive program to construct 35,000 km of roads by March 2014. India’s Highway Minister, Kamal Nath, expects up to $41 billion worth of private investment into the nation’s road sector over the next few years.

“We've been working very closely with the government and also private contractors and private financiers on trying to make a reality out of the minister's commitment to increase road production….so roads are a great opportunity," Lavin said.

He says the India remains a “very, very good bet in terms of growth” for the long haul, even if its growth rate has continually lagged behind that of China.

“We've got to be here really on the forefront of that growth to ensure that we're assisting our customers in taking full advantage of the opportunity,” he concluded.