THE Indian Government's highest representative in the territory has urged the local business community to give her country a closer look as economic reform accelerates. Mrs Kamlesh Kumar, who recently took over as Commissioner for India in Hongkong, yesterday said the aim of the comprehensive reform programme was to effectively integrate India, which had long striven for self-sufficiency, into the global economy. In a bid to boost India's reforms, the budget presented by Finance Minister Manmohan Singh last week included the convertibility of the rupee. Mrs Kumar said: ''The budget is designed to send strong signals to the international business community that our economic reforms are firmly on track and that India is on the move and is determined to succeed.'' Measures included slashing import and excise duties, particularly for the power and electronics sectors; granting special incentives to selected infrastructure industries and tax holidays on investments in certain locations and sectors. The short-term capital gains tax has been reduced from 65 to 30 per cent for foreign institutional investors. Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Mrs Kumar said: ''Your immense contribution to Hongkong's present prosperity is well-recognised. ''The chamber can play a significant catalytic role in promoting two-way economic and commercial interaction between India and Hongkong and in encouraging Hongkong investment in India. ''On the domestic side, we hope that the deregulation will lead to greater competition and consequently more efficient use of our resources. ''The bottom line that this should translate into is more employment opportunities and a better living standard for our people.'' Mr C.N. Subramanian, secretary-general of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, said that numerous Hongkong businesses, both Indian and Chinese-run, had approached the chamber with queries about investing in India. ''Of course, many of Hongkong's Indians already have businesses in India. ''But the effect of these reforms is that India becomes much more attractive, not only for Indians but also for non-Indians.'' Since the reform programme began in mid-1991, ''it's generally been perceived in business circles that India is a place where you can make money''. Mr Dipak Vaghani, who runs his own trading firm, D V International (HK), said: ''The opening of India has been excellent for us. ''All exporters are very happy that the Finance Minister has said that the currency will be made convertible and for us, imports are going to be much cheaper.'' Businesses owned by the 22,000-strong Indian community in Hongkong generated some 14 per cent of the territory's trade, said Mr Vaghani, who is also a general committee member of the Indian Chamber of Commerce.