Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a strong plea for a “much greater role by Japanese industry” in the development of India’s “economic infrastructure”. Singh was addressing the Japanese business organisation, Nippon Keidanren, in Tokyo on Monday.
India needed foreign capital to help it close its “infrastructure deficit,” he said. He said Japan was already active on this front: it had financed the Delhi Metro and similar projects in three other Indian cities. “Japan is our partner of choice in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project,” he said.
But India hoped to get more investment to develop “new capacity in manufacturing and infrastructure sectors and freer flow of high-end technologies.”
Singh specifically mentioned Japan’s leadership in “energy efficient technologies,” including nuclear power. He urged Japanese industry to invest in the “smart communities” that India hopes to build along the industrial corridor.
Singh said India’s young population, economic growth and market size “combine well” with Japan’s “technological prowess, manufacturing skills and financial resources”. The pairing would be a “win-win” for both countries.
Though their quantum of investment into India has increased dramatically, it is known that Japanese firms have felt constrained by the problems of land acquisition, labour agitation and bureaucracy in general. Singh sought to address the concerns by noting various reforms India was carrying out to “create a favourable investment environment” and “facilitate higher investment flows.”
These included changes in taxes, capital markets, education and finance.