updated 5/1/2005 6:35:51 PM ET 2005-05-01T22:35:51

Disney on Sunday declined to say whether it wants to build a theme park in India, but denied a newspaper report in Hong Kong that it lobbied the Indian government on the matter.

The South China Morning Post reported Sunday that The Walt Disney Co. has asked Indian authorities for land for a park site.

“Disney has approached us for land outside Delhi to build a theme park. The company is very upbeat about the project. Its top officials are lobbying hard to wangle a very, very big plot,” the Post quoted an unidentified official at India’s Urban Development Ministry as saying.

Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner and Chief Operating Officer Robert Iger, who has been picked to replace Eisner, visited India last week and met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the report said.

But the Post quoted a Singh spokesman as saying the executives did not lobby the Indian leader.

“Nobody asks the PM for land. It was a courtesy call,” the unidentified spokesman was quoted as saying.

Disney spokeswoman Michele Nachum confirmed the meeting between Singh and the Disney executives but said she didn’t know what was discussed.

She declined to say whether Disney hoped to build a theme park in India, but said the Post report was false.

“We’re constantly evaluating strategic markets around the world to grow our parks and resorts business and the Disney brand,” Nachum told The Associated Press.

Indian officials weren’t available for comment Sunday.

Disney’s latest theme park in Asia, Hong Kong Disneyland, is due to open Sept. 12. Critics have questioned if the government was too accommodating to Disney. Hong Kong taxpayers are paying for most of the park’s $3.5 billion cost. Officials say the park will boost employment and tourism.

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