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Modi to UAE: India has $1 trillion potential, invest in it

india Updated: Aug 18, 2015 01:38 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets people on his visit to Masdar city in Abu Dhabi on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged top UAE businesses, including Indians who have made it big in the oil-rich Gulf nation, to invest in India as the country provides a $1 trillion potential.

He made a similar pitch during Sunday’s dinner with UAE’s top businessmen, saying “his decisive government has full majority” and is keen on foreign investment.

“Infrastructure development and real estate offer tremendous opportunities for UAE businesses in India,” he said at Monday’s round table in the zero-carbon city of Masdar, where he took a ride in a self-driving car.

Modi was keen on addressing issues of the past where several UAE businessmen had complained of difficulties in doing business in India.

“I want to assure we are solving these problems,” he said and promised to interact more with the UAE. His visit is the first in 34 years since Indira Gandhi’s in 1981.

He said commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman would visit the UAE soon.

“If India and UAE work together, they can make the vision of the Asian century (the 21st century as Asia’s century) a reality. UAE would be at the economic focus of the Asian century,” he said at Masdar City, a 5.95-sq km strip located 17km southeast of Abu Dhabi international airport.

“Science is life,” Modi wrote on the visitor’s book at Masdar City, intended to be an incubator for a new generation of green start-ups in a region.

The Prime Minister also rode a personnel rapid transit or PRT car, a driverless vehicle that runs from point to point on magnetic strips.

“Masdar City is an amazing project, illustrating a pathbreaking approach to urban development & clean energy,” he later tweeted.

At Sunday’s private dinner hosted by Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority which is a sovereign wealth fund worth $800 billion, the Prime Minister spoke of his government’s efforts to make India a business-friendly country.

The UAE ranks 22 in the ease of doing business index, compared to India’s 142.

Modi pitched for his flagship Make in India initiative that aims to turn the country into a global manufacturing hub.

For the dinner, celebrity chef Sajeev Kapur cooked an elaborate Gujarati fare, including non-vegetarian dishes.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Prime Minister sought investment in renewable energy, port development and low-cost housing, saying India needs 50 million houses.

“The underlining theme of the meeting with businessmen was that investments should benefit the common man,” said TP Seetharam, ambassador to the UAE.