New Delhi(ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nine days abroad will be the longest overseas visit that he will be undertaking after becoming Prime Minister eleven months ago.
The focus of the visit is to shore up as much foreign direct investment (FDI) and technological expertise as he can for the BJP-led NDA Government's pet projects: Make in India, Smart Cities, Clean India, Skill Development, Defense, Energy Security, Railways, Roads and Ports Management. All of these programmes have the Prime Minister in the driver's seat. The success of each of these initiatives is as important to the BJP as it is to the Prime Minister.
Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had made the nuclear deal with the United States his flagship programme during the tenure of UPA-1. He almost sacrificed his government to ensure that the deal went through. Not so for Mr. Modi. He has several projects on the anvil. And, he has energized his cabinet and party to work simultaneously on all of them. Not to miss the fact that the private sector is egged on at every possible opportunity.
No wonder that over a 100 CEOs are winging their way to Hannover, Germany, to take part in the Hannover Messe business fair. Almost 400 companies are displaying their products there. Public sector undertakings are there as well, jostling for both space and contracts. No one left behind.
The Prime Minister's schedule is packed with meetings with business leaders and CEOs of manufacturing and defence majors.
"It's the economy stupid" was Bill Clinton's successful media slogan in 1992. In 2015, it is Narendra Modi's agenda. He is taking off from where Mr.Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh began and faltered. With a massive mandate in his cabin baggage, the Prime Minister is hopping on and hopping off at country capitals with a message and his intent quite clear. Come and invest in India. No red tape, just red carpet.
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said, "If I were to pick a common theme for these destinations, I think you would all appreciate these three countries are all G7 countries, they are industrialised democracies. We have a considerable economic interest in partnering with these countries. They are very relevant to lot of our national development programmes. They are all democratic countries as well. So, in that sense we have a larger political convergence with them. With each of these countries, the Prime Minister's programme is devised in a way in which the outcomes are most relevant, the messages are most effective."
R Swaminathan, Special Secretary (MEA), said, "The overall objectives are to alleviate, diversify and deepen our engagement across a whole range of fields and impart new vigour through concrete steps."
Industry experts are looking for exactly that. The French Ambassador to India, François Richier, on Monday announced that India can look forward to USD 5 billion in investment in the insurance sector. This follows the nod that the government gave for raising the cap on FDI in the insurance sector from 26 to 49 %.
The Prime Minister's 'Make in India' project needs fresh impetus. A recent Reuters report states the since 2013 Indian firms have spurned some USD 15 billion worth of government tenders to make a range of weapons. The Prime Minister wants to shed the Indian image of being the largest importer of defence equipment. It takes away from the India-the manufacturing destination that he plans for the country.
And he is unwilling to wait for things to happen. The Prime Minister realizes that the tag of 'policy paralysis' that the media attached to UPA-2 cost it an election. Clearly, the youth in India is in a hurry. "Achche Din" (Good Days) was the promise, and he has to deliver on it soon. Mr. Modi and the BJP raised expectations sky high during the ten-month-long election campaign. The delivery on those promises will have to be at express speed too.
In his interview to the Hindustan Times published on Thursday, the Prime Minister reiterates that "creating jobs and opportunities for millions of Indians" is his priority. The visit to the three G-7 industrialized democracies is to collaborate with rich countries to propel India towards prosperity.