The chairman of U.S. software giant Microsoft says his company plans to invest $1.7 billion in India and add 3,000 new jobs there over the next four years.

Speaking at a forum of Indian business leaders in New Delhi Wednesday, Bill Gates said the company, which now employs around 4,000 professionals in India, will increase its workforce to about 7,000.

Later, Mr. Gates told reporters the new hiring would be part of "Microsoft's strategic vision for India."

Company officials say they are aiming to bring computers to millions of people in rural parts of India as well as improve Microsoft's research and development capabilities in the country.

The Microsoft chairman is recognized as one of the world's leading philanthropists. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds health and education programs for the poor in developing countries.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.