Hannover: Asserting that his "Make in India" campaign is not a mere brand or a slogan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked global businesses to follow its logo, the lion, to the welcoming and stable investment climate in his country and become a part of this new, national movement.
"We will make it easy to do business in India. And, we will always be eager to listen to your feedback," the prime minister said at the opening of Hannover Messe, considered the largest industrial fair in the world, where India is the partner country this year. "So, my message to you is this: You will find an environment that is not only open, but also welcoming," Modi said at the event which he inaugurated with his host and German Chancellor Angela Merke, while also listing a host of advantages of investing in India.
Since landing here Sunday evening, Modi could not have missed the overwhelming presence of the Make in India Lion in this city -- billboards to the local trams -- that is expected to attract 200,000 visitors over five days to the fair that is also hosting 350 Indian firms. "The lions are a symbol of a new India. They roar! But with a message of friendship and promise of partnership, from 1.25 billion people of India. This is also the message of 15 states, 20 chief executives and 350 companies from India participating in this Fair."
Modi also listed his priorities. "Whatever we choose to do, from reaching the cutting-edge of industry to meeting the most critical social need, we require investment, technology, industry and enterprise," said the Indian prime minister. "That is why for me, Make in India is not a brand. Nor is it simply a slogan on a smart lion! It is a new national movement," the prime minister said. He was also aware of the hardship foreign investors were facing in India and said the norms were being simplified, approvals getting converted into digital formats, and the tax regime becoming stable and predictable, with movement forward in pan-India goods and services tax.
The prime minister said there must be substance when top institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, along with global credit rating agencies, were speaking in one voice about the progress being made in India and the optimism it is generating. "The wind of change is there, gathering speed," he said adding: "It's made us the fastest growing economy in the world."
Chancellor Merkel said she was rather pleased with the economic reforms being carried out in India and that there was scope for further economic engagement between the businesses of the two countries. "Trade between Germany and India can be improved, even though Germany is Europe's largest trade partner of India," she said, hoping the ongoing fair will also help India to present itself as a technology leader.
The prime minister said, besides offering Global Inc partnerships for trade, investment and innovation, his government will also do its bit to make India an engine for growth, an anchor of economic stability and a force of peace and stability in the world. "So, let me invite you to do business and make in India -- for India and the world. Let me invite you to be our partner in making a new India. I welcome you to enjoy our timeless traditions, the ceaseless celebration of diversity, and, the warm embrace of friendship."
The prime minister's business engagements started with a round-table with Who's Who of the German business world to whom he made a strong pitch to attract more foreign capital, especially in 25 identified sectors -- from automobiles to wellness. Apart from a round-table with the chief executives, the prime minister also met several of them individually, notably Lutz Bertling of Bombardier Transportation, Hubert Lienhard of Voith, Dieter Zetsche of Daimler and Olaf Koch of Metro.