In both France and Germany, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to address problems in areas where investors found it cumbersome to do business in India because of unnecessary rules and complicated procedures.
Modi spoke about country desks, set up under the aegis of Invest India, which will network with different states so that any investor willing to do business in any part of India will find a single window to get a walk-through guidance on procedures and norms.
Following a successful trip to France, Modi was in Germany on Tuesday and would later fly to Canada for the final leg of his three-nation nine-day tour.
Here are 10 highlights of Modi’s France and Germany visit:
1. India has huge potential to become a manufacturing hub: Modi to NRIs in Berlin
Linking India’s economic progress to national “self-respect”, Modi said on Monday night that the country has huge potential of becoming a manufacturing hub and asked Indian professionals in Germany to act as a “bridge” between the two countries.
“There is a big demand of time that India becomes a manufacturing hub. If we lose this opportunity, we will regret later,” Modi told NRIs while addressing a reception hosted in his honour.
Addressing Indian professionals working in Berlin, the PM said they should show “enthusiasm” and “become a bridge between India and Germany to help realise our objective of making India a manufacturing hub. It will be a win-win situation for both the countries.”
2. Will make corrections where required: Modi to German CEOs
Modi’s pitch for attracting foreign investors to boost his ‘Make In India’ initiative came at the inauguration of the Indo-German Business Summit at the Hannover Fair where he and Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the India Pavillion.
Modi told top German businessmen and industrialists not to go by “old perceptions” but to come to India and feel the change in the regulatory environment.
Making an all-out bid to woo German investors, Modi also promised to make “corrections wherever required” to make India a global manufacturing hub.
“Make In India is a need. We are confident that our journey to make India a global manufacturing hub cannot be stopped that too by our own rules and regulations. We must and will make corrections wherever (they are) required,” Modi said to cheers of the gathered audience that included top CEOs of companies from both the countries.
3. We have re-energised Indian growth engine: Modi’s op-ed article in German daily
Pledging a stable and transparent tax regime, Modi wooed global investors saying development is “not a mere political agenda” but an “article of faith” and sought international support to achieve the objectives crucial for growth.
“We have re-energised the Indian growth engine. The credibility of our economy has been restored. India is once again poised for rapid growth and development,” Modi wrote in an op-ed article in the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
“It is the only emerging economy where growth rate is rising. The prospects are even better,” he wrote.
“My interactions with leaders of USA, Russia, France, Japan and China have all aimed at creating enduring partnerships with shared stakes in global development and well-being,” he said.
4. Entire world is looking at India: Modi at Hannover Messe
“The entire world is looking at India. Demography, democracy and demand are attracting the world to India,” said Modi after inaugurating the India Pavilion at the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair in which India is the partner country, with Merkel.
“Not only Germany, the whole world is looking at India,” Modi said.
“Low-cost manufacturing, efficient governance and no-defect manufacturing makes India a global engine in the manufacturing centre,” he said.
The Prime Minister invited the whole world to come to India and increase their partnership with the country and make use of the opportunities India offer to scale new heights of success.
5. Make in India lion is a symbol of new India: Modi at India Pavilion
Saying that the Make in India lion was a “symbol of new India” and a “national movement”, Modi told the audience at the Hannover Messe that his government has moved “with speed, resolve and boldness” to create a stable economic environment, including by opening up FDI in insurance, defence and railways, building a stable tax regime and assured protection of intellectual property.
In his inaugural address, Modi said, with Merkel listening keenly, that all the credit rating agencies have spoken “in one voice of optimism about India. We know that the wind is blowing in the right direction, and it has made us the fastest growing economy in the world.”
He said during a time of political instability and economic challenges and with threats of violence, “India will do its part as an anchor of economic stability, an engine for growth, and, as a force of peace and stability in the world.”
6. India signs Rafale deal
The Indian decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-way condition “as quickly as possible” marks bypassing of the log-jammed deal for supply of 126 aircraft. For this, an inter-governmental agreement will be signed under “separate terms and conditions” which will be discussed by officials.
“The two leaders agreed to conclude an Inter-Governmental Agreement for supply of the aircraft on terms that would be better than that conveyed as part of a separate process underway,” said a joint statement by the two countries.
“The delivery would be in time-frame that would be compatible with the operational requirement of IAF and the aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by Indian Air Force and with a longer maintenance responsibility by France,” it added.
7. Deal to fast-track Jaitapur N-plant
With India and France agreeing to expedite the setting up of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, the move is expected to help settle several long-pending issues, including those regarding the technicalities and pricing of the project.
During PM’s visit to France, India signed two agreements related to the plant. The first, a pre-engineering agreement signed with AREVA, Alstom and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), aims to bring greater clarity on all technical aspects of the project.
The agreement is also expected to allay apprehensions of the Indian side, especially with the new EPR (European Pressurised Reactors) technology, which are to be used in Jaitapur.
8. 20 pacts signed between India and France
With ‘Make-in-India’ being the theme, the two sides signed about 20 pacts, covering areas like civil nuclear energy, urban development, railways and space.
During the PM’s three-day stay, France pledged 2 billion euros for sustainable development in India as Modi invited investments and technology from this country.
Modi also visited the the manufacturing facility of aircraft manufacturer Airbus which announced its decision to enhance outsourcing in India from 400 million euros to 2 billion euros over the next five years.
9. French connection to Indian Railways
A pact was signed during Modi’s France visit for cooperation between Indian Railways and French railways for this semi-high speed rail project.
Under this, French National Railways has agreed to co-finance an execution study for “a semi-high speed project on upgradation of the Delhi-Chandigarh line to 200 kmph”.
The study will be the first step towards execution of the semi-high speed train project on the Delhi-Chandigarh route, said a senior railway ministry official involved with the project.
10. India seeks UNSC seat as a right, China supports
Modi made a strong pitch for India to be given a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, saying that it is not asking for it as a favour but as a “right” – having sacrificed the lives of 75,000 soldiers in World War I, being the largest contributor to the UN Peacekeeping Mission and being a land of the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.
China, which is yet to fully endorse India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council, has said it supports India’s “desire” to play a bigger role at the UN and will strive to work out a “package plan” to reform the powerful organ of the world body.
“We attach great importance to the role and status of India as a major developing country in regional and international affairs,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told the media in Beijing, responding to Modi’s remarks.
As part of his nine-day tour, Modi arrives in Canada on April 14 for a two day visit, the first bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister in 42 years.
Indian and Canadian negotiators are also rushing to iron out differences in a long-stalled foreign investment protection pact in time for Modi’s visit to the north American nation next week.
(With inputs from Reuters, PTI, IANS)