Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said at the 11th BRICS summit that India was the world’s “most open and investment-friendly” economy. The prime minister tried to woo corporate honchos to invest more in India as he addressed the closing ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum.
BRICS is the grouping that comprises Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa.
“India is the most open and investment-friendly economy in the world due to political stability, predictable policy and business friendly reforms,” said Modi. “By 2024, we want to make India a $5-trillion economy. The infrastructure alone requires $1.5-trillion investment. I invite the business of BRICS countries to build and grow their presence in India.”
Modi said the BRICS nations had led economic development despite the global slowdown. “BRICS countries account for 50% of the world’s economic growth,” he said. “Despite the recession in the world, BRICS countries accelerated economic growth, drove millions out of poverty and achieved new breakthroughs in technology and innovation.”
The prime minister pitched for simplifying intra-BRICS business to boost trade and investment. “Tax and customs procedures between us five countries are getting easier,” he said. “The business environment is getting easier with the collaboration between intellectual property rights, and banks. I request the BRICS Business Forum to study the necessary business initiatives to take full advantage of the opportunities thus generated. I would also like to suggest that at least five such areas should be identified by the next BRICS Summit in which joint ventures can be formed between us on the basis of complementarities.”
Modi said there was a possibility of making travel, business and employment among the BRICS nations easier. “We five countries should also consider mutual social security agreement,” said the prime minister.
The focus of this year’s summit is to build mechanisms for counter-terrorism and strengthen ties among the five major economies. The theme of the summit is “Economic growth for the future”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Modi held bilateral meetings with top leaders from Russia, China and Brazil on the sidelines of the summit.
During his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders said the $25-billion target of bilateral trade by 2025 has already been achieved, and discussed ways to improve the strategic partnership. “Frequent meetings have strengthened our relations,” Modi told Putin, according to PTI.
This is the fourth time this year that Modi and Putin have met. Putin invited Modi for the Victory Day celebrations on May 9, 2020.
During his meeting with Xi Jinping, Modi said there has been a “new direction and new energy” in bilateral ties with China. The two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen relations.
“I am glad to meet you once again,” Modi told Xi, according to PTI. The two leaders had last met in Chennai in October. “As you said and I believe that our meeting in Chennai gave our journey a new direction and new energy. Without any agenda, we talked about each other’s issues, global situations... these have been very successful.”
The meeting between Modi and Xi comes days after India said it will not participate in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement among 16 Asia-Pacific countries that aims to reduce tariffs and duties for member countries so that goods and services can flow freely. It will become the world’s largest trade bloc when created. India fears, among other things, a potential flood of Chinese imports after the barriers are demolished.
During the meeting between Modi and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, the prime minister said the two countries could improve trade relations, increase investment in agricultural equipment, animal husbandry, post-harvest technologies and biofuels, and boost cooperation including space and defence sectors. Modi also welcomed Bolsonaro’s decision to grant visa-free travel to Indian citizens.
Bolsonaro accepted India’s invitation to be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi next year.
Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.