[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]Seoul: Text of PM’s statement at India-Republic of Korea CEOs Forum
President of the Republic of Korea, PARK Geun-hye, prominent CEOs of the two countries, other representatives of Business and Industry, ladies and Gentlemen! I am extremely happy to be here with you this morning. I also thank you for being with us. I hope the interactions among the CEOs of the two sides would have been very fruitful.
Friends! India and Korea have had cordial relations from the ancient past. The relationship between the two countries goes back to the first century, when an Indian Princess travelled from the kingdom of Ayodhya in North India to Korea by a boat. She married the Korean King Suro and she became the first queen of the South Korean kingdom. Several Koreans trace their lineage to her. We are also bound by the Buddhist traditions. A famous Korean visitor to India was Hyecho, a Buddhist monk who visited India in the eighth century to know the language and culture of the land of Buddha. He wrote the "account of travel to the five Indian kingdoms". We have so much in common. No wonder then that Bollywood films are very popular in Korea.
Friends! I am here to build upon this relationship. In fact, I have always been fascinated by Korea. I came here when I was Chief Minister of Gujarat and even before that. Honestly speaking, while in Gujarat, I used to wonder as to how a country of the size of Gujarat can do so much economic progress. I admire the spirit of entrepreneurship of the Korean people. I admire the way in which they have created and sustained their global brands. From IT and Electronics to Automobile and Steel, Korea has given exemplary products to the world. Similarly, Korean companies are very strong in construction sector and were involved in building iconic structures around the world. You also have an impressive infrastructure and record for R & D as well as innovation.
We in India want to achieve a lot of what Korea has already done. That is why I, along with a large business delegation, are here. The good news is that India-Korea bilateral trade has risen after signing of Korea-India CEPA in January 2010. The South Korean investment zone in Rajasthan State is progressing well. Several Hundred Korean companies are operating in India. Lot of your products particularly in Consumer Electronics are household choices for Indians. And many of them are being produced there. Hyundai Motor is the 2nd largest car manufacturer of India. However, there is still a lot of scope for improvement. South Korea ranks only 14th in FDI flows in India. I can admit that the reason for this low volume of FDI lies with us not with you. But I can tell you that India was and is a land of potentials. Now, India is also a land of enabling policy environment. Moreover, there is renewed commitment of my Government for changing the face of the country. We can join hands in the mutual benefit of our people and industry. There is a lot that we can do together.
For example, there is potential for cooperation between India's software and Korea's hardware industry. Your car making and our designing capabilities can be put together. Though we have become the third biggest producer of steel, we need to add a lot of value in it. Your steel-making capacity and our resources of iron ore can be put together. Your ship-building capacity and our agenda of port led development can become driver of our growth. Infrastructure including housing is another field where we can work together in a big way. In my last visit, I had gone to see your wonderful Saemangeum project. We have to create many such Saemangeums. Let us do this for mutual benefit and with a win-win spirit.
Friends! Since my Government has taken over, we are working day and night to create conditions for faster and inclusive growth. We want a quantum jump in all this. There is no time for incremental changes. The sectors which are strong in Korea are very important for the development of my country. Many of you are already present in India. For those who are not there, I extend an invitation to come to India and explore the opportunities. With your presence in India and through your interactions with our CEOs, you must already be knowing what we are doing and in which direction we are going. I would only throw some light on the size and scale of the opportunities.
Water, Transportation, Railways, Sea ports, ship-building, Electricity including renewable, IT infrastructure and services, Electronics, Construction Industry, are all very promising sectors in my country. Just to give you some examples: we have planned to build 50 million houses by 2022. In addition, we are going to develop smart cities, long industrial corridors, and mega investment regions. For this purpose, we have refined our FDI Policy in construction. We have eased the conditions for Real Estate Investment Trusts for making investments. We are also coming up with a regulatory framework for this sector. We have targeted 175 Giga Watt of renewable energy in next few years. In addition to generation, the issues of transmission and distribution of electricity are equally important for us.
We are keen to modernize our Railways, We are planning metro rail in fifty cities and high speed trains in various corridors. We have to upgrade our Highways. This year we have made maximum allocation for these two sectors. In addition we have opened up Railways for 100% FDI. We are putting up new ports and modernizing the old ones through an ambitious plan called Sagarmala. There is a similar focus on upgrading the existing Airports and putting up regional airports to enhance connectivity to places of economic and tourist importance.
We particularly want to promote manufacturing in a big way to create jobs for our youth. For this purpose, we have launched a campaign called “Make in India”. This campaign and commitment includes bringing our industrial infrastructure, policies and practices to best global standards and to convert India into a global manufacturing hub. To provide digital infrastructure across the country, we have launched another campaign called Digital India. Cleaner and greener development and Zero defect Zero effect manufacturing is another commitment. We have launched a clean India campaign with emphasis on adoption of better environmental technologies.
To enable all this, in last eleven months, we have taken a series of measures to improve the business environment and enhance the investor confidence. We do believe that ‘ease of doing Business’ has become an important factor in attracting investments in the country. We also believe that FDI is important and it will not come in the country without a globally competitive business environment. So, we are working aggressively for making India a very easy place to do business.
To create employment and self-employment opportunities in the country, we have launched the Skill India Mission and other innovative missions. On the other hand, we have fast tracked approvals in industry and infrastructure. This includes environmental clearances, industrial and shipping licences. In addition, we also enhanced the FDI limits in key sectors like Defence and Insurance. We also refined the FDI policy in medical devices sector to encourage the manufacturing of medical equipment.
Within a very short time, we introduced GST Bill in parliament. We are making our taxation system more stable, predictable and transparent. We have already resolved many taxation issues affecting the foreign investors. This is all to become more conducive for business and bring in technology and capital. We have got good results of these initial steps. The sentiments for private investment and inflow of foreign investment are positive. Our growth rate is above 7%. FDI inflows have gone up by 39% during April-2014 and February-2015 against the same period in previous year. Many international financial institutions including the World Bank, IMF, OECD and others are predicting even faster growth in the coming years. MOODY’s have recently upgraded the rating of India as positive on account of our concrete steps in various economic segments. Thus, we have restored the global positioning of India in terms of its politics, governance and economy. But we are not going to stop here. We have to and we will do a lot better.
Friends! once again, I invite you to India to see the change. We are also prepared to work with you in making the conditions more conducive for you. Yesterday, I announced the forming of a dedicated mechanism for hand holding of Korean investors. It will be known as Korea Plus. In addition I assure you of my personal attention if there are any issues.
Snaps of meeting of PM of India with CEOs:
Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.