The very word "Japan" in India is a benchmark of quality, excellence, honesty and integrity. Japanese people have led the world in sustainable development. There is also a deep sense of social responsibility and ethical behaviour. We are also familiar with Japan's enormous contributions to the process of development in other parts of the world, especially in Asia and Africa.India's core values are rooted in our civilizational heritage. It gets inspiration through the teachings of Truth from Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. It gets its wings from our democratic traditions, emphasis on both wealth and value creation, a robust sense of enterprise and quest to modernize and prosper its economy. That is why India and Japan are best suited to work together. In fact; Our past has desired us to stand together. Our present is encouraging us to work together.
I have been saying that this twenty first (21st Century) is Asia’s Century. Asia has emerged as the new centre of global growth. It is competitive in manufacturing and services, is becoming a hub for global innovation, is home to large talented workforce, and as home to sixty percent of global population, it is an ever expanding market. India and Japan will have to continue to play a major role in Asia’s emergence. The growing convergence of views between Japan and India under our Special Strategic and Global Partnership has the capacity to drive the regional economy and development, and stimulate the global growth. Strong India – Strong Japan will not only enrich our two nations. It will also be a stabilising factor in Asia and the world.
Today, India is on the path of several major transformations. We have taken decisive steps and built a governance system that will help India realize its potential. The results are already visible. Even against a weak international economic scenario, the news from India is of strong growth and abundant opportunities. It is of Incredible opportunities, and about India's Credible Policies. In 2015, the Indian economy grew faster than other major economies. World Bank and IMF assess this trend to continue. Lower labour costs, large domestic market and macro-economic stability combine to make India a very attractive investment destination. In the last two fiscal years, we received about 55 billion dollars as foreign direct investment. This is not only highest ever FDI but also highest growth in FDI in India.
Today, every global company has an India strategy. And, Japanese companies are no exception. It is no surprise that today Japan is India's fourth largest source of FDI. Japanese investments extend to both green-field and brown-field projects; manufacturing and services; infrastructure and insurance; and e-commerce and equity. On our part, we would, of course, want greater influx of Japanese investments. For this, we will be proactive in addressing your concerns. And, we will further strengthen the special mechanisms including Japanese Industrial Townships. I encourage you to make use of the ten-year business visa, the e-Tourist Visa, and the Visa-On-Arrival facility that we now offer to Japanese travellers. The Social Security Agreement with Japan has also been implemented, which is good news for the growing number of professionals on both sides.
India's development needs are huge and substantial. We seek rapid achievement of our developmental priorities, but in a manner that is environment friendly. · We want to build roads and railways in a faster way; · We want to explore minerals and hydrocarbons in a greener way; · We want to build homes and civic amenities in a smarter way; and · We want to produce energy in a cleaner way. In addition, there are futuristic infrastructure projects of second generation. These include: the Dedicated Freight Corridor, the Industrial Corridors, High Speed Railways, Smart Cities, Coastal Zones and Metro Rail projects. All of these offer unprecedented opportunities for Japanese industry. Made in India and Made by Japan combination has already started to work and converge wonderfully. Cars made in India by a Japanese car maker are already selling in Japan. I wish to thank and congratulate those of you who are already in India. To those who are exploring, I promise you that we are committed to further refine our policies and procedures to boost Make in India.
Creating an enabling environment for business and attracting investments remains my top priority. Stable, predictable and transparent regulations are redefining the nature of doing business in India. E-governance is no longer just a fancy buzzword, but a basic facility. We have successfully enacted a new legislation regarding Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code passed recently will make it easier for investors to have an exit. We are setting up commercial courts and commercial divisions to ensure speedy disposal of commercial matters. The arbitration proceedings will now become faster as the Arbitration law has been amended. In June this year, we have further relaxed our FDI regime. We have also announced a new Intellectual Property Rights policy. All of these point to the new direction of economic reforms that India is pursuing. My resolve is to make India the most open economy in the world. The impact of our efforts is being felt and recognized globally. · FDI equity inflows have gone up by 52% in last two years. · India has gone up 19 spots on the World Logistics Performance Index 2016 brought out by the World Bank. · We have done substantial improvement on Ease of doing business. Our ranking has improved considerably. · In two years, India is up by 32 places on the Global Competitiveness Index of World Economic Forum. · According to the World Investment Report of 2015, India is first among the top 10 FDI Destinations of the World.
I have long maintained that India needs scale, speed and skill. Japan has a very important role to play in all three. Its involvement in our mega projects like Dedicated Freight Corridors, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Metro Rail and High Speed Rail signifies scale and speed. With a number of skill development initiatives already underway, our partnership now extends to this crucial area of our priority. The captains of Japanese business and industry sitting here will agree with me that a combination of Japan's technologies and India's human resources will create a win-win situation. I have said earlier also that the combination of your hardware and our software is a fantastic combination. It will benefit both countries. Let us join hands even more closely and strongly. Let us march forward and explore bigger potentials and brighter prospects.