Masdar (UAE): Inviting investors from UAE, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India has an immediate investment opportunity of USD 1 trillion and the government will take urgent steps to address concerns of the businessmen from this country and erase “deficit of 34 years”.
Modi also said his government has got some problems in legacy and his immediate priority would be to kickstart the things which were stalled by the “indecisiveness and lethargy” of the past governments.
“I have got some problems in legacy. I can not take only the good points and leave aside the problems… Some things were stalled due to the indecisiveness and lethargy of the governments (in the last)… It is my priority to kickstart those things,” Modi said while addressing the business leaders from the UAE here at the Masdar City.
Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit UAE in the last 34 years, said India has huge investment opportunities for investors from the UAE in sectors like infrastructure, energy and real estate and urged them to come to invest in India and together make the 21st century ‘Asia’s Century’.
The Prime Minister said all major global institutions such as IMF, World Bank and Moody’s agree that India is the world’s fastest growing economy and it has huge development potential.
“On one hand India is growing fast and on the other hand, the world is looking at Asia. But is Asia complete without UAE? I can clearly see that the UAE should be at the centre of mainstream of things in Asia. UAE’s power and India’s potential can make it Asia’s century,” he said.
Modi said he has been told about some problems being faced by investors from the UAE and he wants to assure them that the government is solving those problems.
“I will send my Commerce Minister to try and find solutions to the problems faced by some UAE investors,” he said.
The investors told the Prime Minister that they need steps like single window clearance and cited cumbersome and complex processes for doing business in India. To this, Modi assured that these problems will be resolved.
In their meeting with the Prime Minister, the businessmen also said that the government needs to be a strategic partner to create a conducive business environment for the investors who need safety of their investments.
The issue assumes significance as a number of investors, including some from the Middle-East region, have in the past faced problems due to taxation and policy related issues.
Modi said he needs investments to build infrastructure for India’s growth and “there is immediate potential for investments totalling USD 1 trillion in India.”
Stating that he is well aware of the fact that USD 1 trillion is a big number, Modi said such investments can very well come to India as it has now got a decisive and stable government.
Talking about no Indian Prime Minister having visited the UAE in the last 34 years, Modi said, “We have lost 34 years. I want to erase the deficit of these 34 years. I want all of you to come to India and make 21st Century Asia’s century.”
Modi said there are 700 flights between India and UAE, but but it took 34 years for an Indian Prime Minister to visit. “I promise this will not happen again,” he said.
Those present in the meeting included members of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, top government officials and Indian origin industrialists including Yusuff Ali, B R Shetty, Ravi Pillai and PNC Menon who have set up businesses here.
Listing out investment areas, Modi said, “We want technology, speed and quality construction when it comes to housing. Low-cost housing is very important for us.
“It is now commonly believed that India is one of the fastest growing economies. There are several opportunities of development in India.
“I feel India is a land of many opportunities… 125 crore people of India are not a market but they are a source of great strength.”
“In the agriculture sector we need cold storage network and warehousing network where UAE businesses have another advantage. Infrastructure development and real estate offer tremendous opportunities for UAE businesses in India.
UAE’s power and India’s potential can make the dream of an Asian Century a reality.” Addressing the roundtable meeting of business leaders at this planned city project in Abu Dhabi, which relies on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, Modi said several sectors including insurance, railways, defence manufacturing have been opened up for foreign investment in India.
Heads of companies like Etisalat, Etihad Airways, Emirates, DP World, Commercial Bank of Dubai and Emaar Group were also present during the meeting.
Modi also talked about renewable energy, port-led development and low-cost housing as sectors with huge investment potential.
Earlier, the Prime Minister was accompanied on an hour-long visit of Masdar City, by senior City officials, who briefed him on various aspects of the project.
Modi also travelled briefly on the PRT (Personnel Rapid Transit) car – a driver-less vehicle which runs from point to point on magnetic strips.
He also visited the Micro-Nano Fabrication Facility and the Microscopy Lab. The Prime Minister also took a brief walking tour of the city’s public spaces and was briefed on the sustainable building methodology and key architectural elements.
Throughout the hour-long tour of Masdar City, Modi was greeted by residents and professionals in the city, which include a large number of members from the Indian community. “Vigyan Jeevan Hai” he wrote, as he signed on a Digital Visitor’s Book at Masdar City.