Chinese ambassador to India Le Yucheng on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of an official in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office to grant special clearances to Chinese investments in India that amounted to just $600 million in the past 15 years.
In a speech on India-China industrial cooperation at an event organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Le said he saw compatibility and complementarity between China’s recently-released “Made in China 2025” strategy with its emphasis on innovation and high-end manufacturing and the Make in India initiative with the aim of boosting local manufacturing.
“The Modi government has taken effective measures to enhance government efficiency, improve market environment and make it easier for Chinese businesses to invest in India, including granting e-visa to Chinese nationals, appointing a joint secretary in the prime minister’s office to overlook Chinese investment and relaxing restructions and security checks for Chinese companies,” Le said.
The ambassador’s remarks come in the backdrop of India in the past not clearing Chinese investments in sensitive areas such as telecom.
India has so far announced such point persons in the government to fast-track investments from Japan and South Korea, besides China.
Attracting investments from abroad to boost economic growth and development has been a key goal for Modi, who came to power in May last year on a pro-development election plank.
In his speech, the Chinese ambassador identified infrastructure, including railways and the building of smart cities, as areas where Chinese entrepreneurs could invest. “There is considerable demand in infrastructure as India advances in urbanization and industrialization and builds smart cities. The Modi government has set the goal of increasing infrastructure by 15-20% in 2015 including more rural roads, highways, power generation and electricity. With China’s reliable technology and advanced facilities offered at an affordable price, infrastructure can be a highlight in our cooperation,” Le said.
China and India have discussed jointly setting up a railway university and China had provided heavy haul transportation training to more than 100 Indian engineers, Le said.
Manufacturing is another important area of cooperation, Le said, explaining China had accumulated abundant experience, technology, know-how, capital and human resources in manufacturing “which can be applied to India”.
He said there was much progress being made in a Chinese industrial park coming up in Pune, adding that once completed, it will create 100,000 jobs and have an annual output of $20 billion.
China had announced the setting up of two industrial parks in India during the visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping to India in September.
“Chinese manufacturers plan to invest in a large industrial park in Kakinada special economic zone in Andhra,” he said.
Le’s comments came ahead of remarks by Amitabh Kant, secretary in India’s department of industrial policy and promotion.
Kant underlined the huge trade deficit between the two countries—Indian exports to China amounting to $14.8 billion and imports from China amounting to $51 billion—was not sustainable.
To correct this, it was necessary that Chinese industry invested more in manufacturing in India instead of exporting its products.
India could gain from China’s ability to rapidly create world-class infrastructure and its deep pockets that could finance long-term projects in India.