Prime Minister Narendra Modi met some of the heaviest hitters in the Canadian corporate world on Thursday and assured them of a predictable tax regime in India.
The CEOs, who together control over $1,000 billion in funds, some of which could be directed towards India, stressed on anxiety about retrospective taxation. Modi told them he would stand by what he said in Parliament on the issue that his government would shun such taxation.
At a roundtable meeting over breakfast, Modi met four major pension fund managers, who together control nearly $800 billion in funds.
He also met leaders of Canadian banks including Indian-origin CEO of TD Bank Group, Bharat Masrani.
Sources at the meeting said it was reiterated several times that India was now on “top or near the top of the list” of destinations for new investments.
Modi was also told that investors were enthused by transparency in the government and that there wasn’t a whiff of corruption.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told HT the PM “welcomed suggestions” of the corporate leaders. “Canadian investors said that demand to do business in India has gone up exponentially. There was no discordant note,” he said.
Later in the day, Modi met CEOs of major Canadian companies — a group called the G-30. The CEO of Air Canada said they had been “enthused” enough to start non-stop flight between Canadian and Indian destinations later this year.
Canada’s high commissioner to India Nadir Patel told HT that the meetings were “an exchange of insights and to explore opportunities to increase two-way trade and investment.”
Peter Sutherland, former high commissioner to New Delhi and vice-chairman of the Canadian-India Business Council said “investors prize above all for the regulatory environment to be favourable, friendly and that there won’t be surprises”.