Foreign businesses still have high hopes on PM Narendra Modi - Alternative Media Forum


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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Foreign businesses still have high hopes on PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi,Iftikhar Gilani: Amidst reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's biggest cheer leaders–Indian industrialists were disappointed with him, nine months after he assumed office, foreign governments think otherwise. Coinciding with Modi's tri-nation tour, where during the second-leg in Germany, he is planning to hard sell India as an attractive investment destination, German ambassador Michael Steiner said he finds a visible difference of improvement of business climate as compared to previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. "I feel the difference. As I interact with international business leaders, I find, they have renewed interest in getting more engaged with India," he said.

Leading a delegation of 110 Indian CEOs, prime minister will meet movers and shakers of global business at the Hannover Messe during his three-day trip to Germany beginning Sunday, after he reaches there from France. Modi will inaugurate the Hannover Messe, considered the largest congregation of business tycoons, along with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

German envoy said former UPA government was also serious, but things were difficult for them, as they were facing tough time for being a large coalition. "This government is in majority. We hope much on reform front. We feel things are being done already," he said.

While exuding confidence on Modi, Ambassador Steiner said things will take time to settle, he feels they have started moving. "There is a change and it takes time. India is a big ocean… you cannot change things overnight. Things have started to move," he said.

In the Hannover Messe, the largest industrial fair in the world, some 350 Indian enterprises are participating. "In January, the world came to vibrant India in Gujarat and now exactly three months later, vibrant India is coming to the world in Germany to Hannover Messe," German ambassador said on Modi's trip.

The Prime Minister will have a round-table with top German CEOs on Sunday and again will interact with around 800 business leaders the next day at the Indo-German business summit. He may have one-on-one meetings with some of the CEOs, according to Steiner. A letter of intent on a solar rooftop project and another on cooperation between some of the German and Indian cities may be signed during Modi's visit. The Prime Minister's delegation will include five Union ministers including Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and M Venkaiah Naidu. Chief ministers of Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are also likely to travel with Modi besides around 110 business leaders, the envoy said.

Ahead of talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, India today said it expects "movement" on a proposal for setting up French nuclear reactors in Jaitapur in Maharashtra as well as Rafale fighter deal, both of which are pending for long. These issues, along with trade, will be high on the agenda of substantive discussions between the two leaders amid India's keen interest to get participation of French companies in the 'Make in India' programme. Terrorism, against the backdrop of an attack here three months back, will also be discussed.

"India and France are strategic partners. In this context, the issues of civil nuclear and defence cooperation will be discussed. The issues you referred to will also be discussed.

We expect movement on these issues," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said here when asked whether the two leaders will talk about Jaiitapur nuclear project and multi-billion dollar Rafale deal. "There will be substantive discussions on defence and nuclear issues. Wait for the outcome," he added.

The spokesman said India expects French companies to participate in 'Make in India' programme in the field of defence as well as civil nuclear energy, "where India can make some nuclear installations with France."

The Jaitapur project, where French company Areva is to set up six nuclear reactors with total power generation capacity of about 10,000 MW, is stuck for long because of differences over the cost of electricity to be generated.

Similarly, the deal to supply 126 Rafale fighter planes is also deadlocked because of differences over price.

Modi, who arrived here today on a four-day visit, will also address two meetings with French CEOs – one on infrastructure and another on defence.

He will also have 'Naav pe Charcha' (chat on boat) with Hollande when they go for a cruise on Seine river which passes through Paris.

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