Wooing foreign investors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday promised reforms “with speed and boldness”, along with a transparent and predictable tax regime and protection of intellectual property rights.
Addressing the ASEAN-India Summit in Kuala Lumpur, he announced a $1-billion line of credit to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity between India and ASEAN. With a growth rate of 7.5%, India, he said, is the fastest growing major economy in the world, adding it is likely to go higher in the near future. “And now we have an environment that is open and welcoming. Our inflation is down, as also our fiscal and external deficits. And, business and international confidence has increased sharply,” he said.
Earlier, speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, he said government actions in the past 18 months have led to inflation going down and led to higher GDP growth and foreign investment. “Reform is not an end in itself. Reform for me is just a way station on the long journey to the destination. The destination is the transformation of India,” he said. “It was obvious that reforms were needed. We asked ourselves the question — reforms for what? My answer is clear: we must ‘reform to transform’,” he said.
Stating that a series of concerted steps, including structural and institutional reforms, have been initiated, the PM said the government was “moving fast” to make sure the tax regime is transparent and predictable where genuine investors and honest tax payers get quick and fair decisions.
Narendra Modi said ASEAN-India look forward to progress in negotiations for a balanced and ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that covers goods and services, as well as investments.
“I saw the strength of our relationship and the potential of our partnership; and, even more important, the commitment and confidence that you showed for the India-ASEAN Strategic Partnership,” Modi said, adding, “in this difficult moment, India and ASEAN are two bright spots of optimism”.
Saying terrorism has emerged as a major global challenge that affects all, he said, “We have excellent bilateral cooperation with ASEAN members, and we should see how we can enhance our cooperation, including through support for adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.”
** To commit a line of credit of $1 billion to promote projects supporting physical, digital connec-tivity between India, ASEAN
** India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway to be completed by 2018
** To extend electronic visa facility to all ASEAN countries
** To enlarge ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund from $1 million to $5 million
** To set up ASEAN-India Innovation Platform to facilitate commercial-isation of low-cost technologies, technology transfer and collaborative R&D projects
** India will offer GAGAN services to ASEAN
** Over 100 training slots in renewable energy in Indian institutions