Few better partners than US, and you can trust us: PM Narendra Modi
DELHI: Making a strong pitch to US investors, PM Narendra Modi said India represents rising trade opportunities with a nation that can be trusted and which offers access to a market that has scale and availability of skilled human resources.
The PM’s remarks at the India-US business summit Wednesday, read in the context of current anxieties over supply chains based in China, were a clear bid to position India as a safer and more reliable trade partner and destination.
“US-India friendship has scaled heights. It’s time our partnership plays a key role in helping the world bounce back faster after the pandemic. US investors often look out for the perfect ti Ming to enter a sector or country. To them, I would say: there has never been a better time to invest in India,” Modi said.
Looking to position India as a welcoming destination, Modi said areas like finance, insurance, defence and space offered big opportunities. He said 100% FDI was allowed and big schemes like Ayushman Bharat and crop insurance had increased acceptance of insurance products and the sector could grow to $250 billion by 2025.
The PM said the health sector was growing at 22% and there were more rural internet users than urban. “There are over half a billion more people who are being connected. Opportunities in technology also include op port unities in the frontier technologies of 5G, big data analytics, quantum computing, block-chain and internet of things,” he added.
Pointing to synergies that could be seen to contrast with China, Modi said, “India offers a perfect combination of openness, opportunities and options. Let me elaborate. India celebrates openness in people and in governance. Open minds make open markets… These are principles on which both India and the US agree.” Modi invited the US to invest in India’s agriculture sector (traditionally off limits for foreign investment), healthcare including medical technology, energy, infrastructure and civil aviation as well.
He said in the rush for economic growth based on efficiency and optimisation, the world did not pay enough attention to resilience to external shocks.
“Global economic resilience can be achieved by stronger domestic economic capacities. This means improved domestic capacity for manufacturing, restoring the health of the financial system and diversification of international trade.”
Talking up global opti mism about India, Modi said, “FDI inflows in India in 2019-20 were $74 billion. This is an increase of 20% from the year before. In the middle of the pandemic, India has attracted more than $20 billion.” This, he said, was an increase over the same period last year. Saying that India had created two defence corridors, the PM said the government has raised FDI cap for investment in defence sector to 74%. “India has established two defence corridors to encourage production of defence equipment and platforms. We offer special incentives for private and foreign investors.”