Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday his government wants to mobilise an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore to enable development of ports and invited global investors to explore opportunities in India’s 7,500-km long coastline.
Modi said his government plans to modernise ports to restore India’s “position of eminence in the global maritime sector”, while inaugurating the first Maritime India Summit (MIS) aimed to attract potential global investors for huge opportunities in the maritime sector.
“We Indians are inheritors of a glorious maritime heritage. Maritime transport can be the most extensive mode of transport. It is also the most eco-friendly,” he said in Mumbai.
“Our vision is to increase port capacity from 1,400 million tonnes to 3,000 million tonnes by 2025. We want to mobilise an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in the port sector to enable this growth,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi said India plans to add five new ports to meet the increasing demand of Exim trade, which is expected to rise in line with the fast-growing Indian economy. New ports are also being developed by several coastal states of India.
The Prime Minister said the Indian shipping sector is ready for “a long haul” and called upon investors not to miss out on “the pleasant journey and great destination”.
“It is even better time to come through the sea route ... Once you are here, I assure you that I will personally hold your hands to see that your berthing is safe, secure and satisfactory,” Modi added.
Elaborating on the government’s plans for the sector, Modi referred to the shipping ministry showcasing some 250 projects with an investment opportunity in the maritime sector.
These projects include various infrastructure development opportunities in 12 major ports, projects in eight maritime states and other agencies, of which over 100 projects have been identified under the ambitious Sagarmala programme.
“With more than 14,000 kilometres of navigable inland waterways in the country, there is tremendous potential for development in this sector. My government is committed to integration in infrastructure. We are also committed to creating an enabling environment for investors and facilitating investments with an open mind,” he added.
On the need for collaboration, the Prime Minister said it not just creates and facilitates economic activity, but connects countries and civilisations. He termed it as “the cleanest and cheapest carrier” of global trade.
“However, in this sector, no country can achieve the desired results in isolation. Nations have to collaborate to realise this potential and overcome challenges in this sector. The objective of this summit is to provide a platform and a forum for such cooperation,” he stressed.
Modi also paid a tribute to BR Ambedkar on his 125th birth anniversary and said that the architect of India’s Constitution was also the architect of the country’s water and river navigation policy.
MIS will showcase to a global audience sectors like existing port development and modernisation of berths and terminals, Greenfield ports, port-led development under ‘Sagarmala’, shipbuilding, repairs and breaking, coastal shipping, inland water transport, cruises, lighthouse tourism, hinterland connectivity and logistics handling.
Deals worth over Rs 80,000 crore are expected to be signed during the event in which delegates, CEOs and experts from 41 countries will participate.