Seeking Portuguese investment in the country, Union Minister V K Singh has said that India represents enormous opportunities to European partners and it is expected to spend around USD 130 billion on defence modernisation alone in the next seven years.Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, also a former army chief, also said India has announced a new Defence Procurement Procedure in March that seeks to make the country a manufacturing hub for export of ‘Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured’ (IDDM) items, to other countries.
“India is expected to spend around USD 130 billion on defence modernisation alone in the coming seven years,” Singh said addressing a meeting on ‘Portugal and India – Forging a New Growth Partnership’ here yesterday.”The fact that the Portuguese association of defence industries IDD participated in our flagship defence event AEROINDIA for the first time last year, is a clear sign of growing Portuguese interest in collaborating with us in this sector,” Singh said as he pitched for investment in India.He said the two sides are looking at exchanging visits by the Defence Ministers soon to advance their ties in the field.
Singh said the BJP-led government has placed a renewed thrust on public investment in infrastructure, to help improve the investment climate.”We are planning to spend USD 32 billion on building highways, USD 16 billion on building world-class port infrastructure, USD 5.5 billion on developing inland waterways and USD 132 billion on modernising the rail sector,” he added.The minister said a clear-cut road map for lowering corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over the next 4 years has also been laid down.”Retrospective Minimum Alternative Tax affecting foreign funds has been waived and the government is working towards early implementation of the Goods and Services Tax,” he added.
The minister said that given Portugal’s acknowledged world class competencies in many of India’s priority sectors especially infrastructure, renewable energy, construction and tourism, India invite the Portugese government, business and industry to take advantage of these opportunities and partner it in its transformative economic agenda.He rued that the bilateral trade and investment relations, while remaining warm, are well below potential.”While bilateral trade grew steadily over the past few years, it dipped significantly in 2014 and 2015 to less than USD 700 million from a high of almost USD 967 million.
“While this is perhaps reflective of the global economic situation and the slowing down of global trade including India’s overall trade, it demonstrates fairly clearly that our two countries need to do much more to tap into the tremendous economic opportunities and synergies that exist between us,” he said.”It is now time to turn the challenges perceived by both our businesses into opportunities for ‘win win’ partnerships between India and Portugal. We look to our Portugese partners to shed inhibitions, rediscover their entrepreneurial spirit and bet on the India story,” he added.