Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the building of 'Brand India' in the world was powered by the Indian automotive industry meeting global standards.
He described the automobile industry as a "sunrise sector" of the country's economy which "like a beautiful butterfly" had come out of its protective cocoon and now showing its wares across diverse continents.
"The success of the Indian automobile and auto components industry is a proud symbol of the success of Indian enterprises in this new era of globalisation. Brand India has now begun to make its mark on the world stage," the prime minister said while laying the foundation stone of the Global Automotive Research Centre in Chennai.
"The automotive industry is truly a sunrise sector in our economy. It has grown impressively to carve out a seven percent share of the global market.
"Our vehicles and components are now being accepted in European and American markets and by major firms like BMW and Daimler Chrysler," he pointed out.
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and several central and state ministers attended the function.
Emphasising that the government would do whatever is necessary to realise the goal of making India the manufacturing "workshop of the world", the prime minister said the new research centre with a state-of-the-art infrastructure for automotive testing and homologation should help make India as well as Tamil Nadu global frontrunners in automobile research and development.
Tamil Nadu is already a leading centre for the automobile sector and has acquired the reputation as the "Detroit of India", he pointed out.
The new centre is expected to help the auto industry reduce product development cycles, enabling them to become more dynamic and flexible in responding to changing customer needs.
The prime minister said the ministry of heavy industries was preparing an Automotive Mission Plan 2006-2016 to quadruple the turnover of automotive sector in 10 years.
"The plan must address the transport needs of all sections of our society, particularly the poor people living in rural areas."
Reiterating support to the Tamil Nadu government's efforts to improve infrastructure, the prime minister said work would commence soon on the modernisation of the Chennai airport.
"Plans are being made for the development of Coimbatore, Madurai and Trichy airports," Manmohan Singh said.
Among other projects, the prime minister assured support for the metro rail project in Chennai.
He pointed out that work on the Sethusamudram project, aimed at reducing the sea travel time between the country's west coast and the east coast, was already in progress while the railways had already been directed to examine the feasibility of extending the dedicated freight corridor to the south, including Tamil Nadu.
The state government was also assured support to set up a desalination project in Chennai and to develop Colachel as a major container port once its feasibility report is completed.