PepsiCo is to invest US$500m over the next three years in India, group chairwoman Indra Nooyi has announced.

Nooyi, speaking at a press conference in Delhi, said PepsiCo would use the investment to triple its revenue in India within the next five years. It will also create up to 50,000 new jobs, she added.

The move again demonstrates the growing importance of emerging markets to PepsiCo and arch-rival Coca-Cola.

Pepsico's executive committee last week embarked on a three-day visit to India.

The soft drinks giant also announced this weekend that it had begun a pilot programme designed to help the United Nations achieve its Millenium Development Goals in India.

"PepsiCo is working toward developing nutritious fortified products to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in select developing countries," the firm said. Around half of young Indian women have an iron deficiency, it said.

Increasing the group's corporate social responsibility credentials further, it added that Indian operations would have a "positive water balance" by 2009. This, it said, "means that PepsiCo India will save and recharge more water than it will use in its beverage plants throughout the year".