Modi building a USA in Asia, calls unity and shared prosperity

Asia leadership conference provides a platform for raise the nations of Asia

GN Bureau | May 19, 2015


#South Korea   #India   #Asia   #trade   #business   #Birla   #Park   #Seoul  


Prime minister Narendra Modi seems to be building a USA in the backyard.  On Tuesday, he called for unity among Asian countries and said they must work as Asians to shape the world and reform the global institutions of governance.

The call was almost for a United States of Asia. Hear what he said at the VI Asia Leadership Conference in South Korean capital Seoul.

“Asia will succeed more when all of Asia rises together.”

"Asia of unity will shape the world," Modi said.

"My Asian dream is one in which all of Asia rises together...The future I dream for India is the future I seek for our neighbours. Our growth must be more inclusive within and across nations," said Modi. He is on the last leg of his three-Asian nations tour that took him to China and Mongolia.

He reminded the Asian nations that rivalries will hold the continent back. The Asian countries to draw upon their shared heritage and youthful energy to pursue a common purpose, he said.

"We must work as Asians to reform the global institutions of governance, including the United Nations and its Security Council," he said, underlining that Asia's re-emergence is the greatest phenomenon of this era.

Modi said India's progress will be Asia's success story and it will help to make the Asian dream a bigger reality.

Modi said as some of the countries in Asia become more prosperous they must be prepared to share their resources and markets with those who need them.

"This is the obligation of national governments but also a regional responsibility," he added.

Meanwhile, South Korea and India on Tuesday launched a forum of businessmen in Seoul for a closer partnership among entrepreneurs from both countries.

The panel is co-chaired by Park Yong-man, chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), and Kumarmangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group.

"South Korea and India will be able to emerge as leaders in the age of Asia should the continent's No. 3 and No. 4 economies join hands as firm partners," said Park.

"If we combine India's competence in science and software technologies with that of South Korea's manufacturing sector, based on both our creative talent, the two could create a new economic value," the KCCI chief said.

Bilateral trade between South Korea and India reached $18.1 billion last year.


Text of PM’s remarks at the Asian Leadership Forum at Seoul:

Her Excellency President Park Geun-hye,

Her Highness Sheikha Mozah

His Excellency  Ban ki-moon,

 Bang Sang-hoon, President of Chosun-ilbo

It is a great honour to share the stage with President Park and Sheikha Mozah and Ban Ki Moon.

They are outstanding leaders of Asia. They reflect Asia's diversity, and its common spirit.

I am delighted to visit Republic of Korea in the first year of my Government.

Long before Korean brands had found their way into Indian homes, Koreans had found their way into Indian hearts.

Nearly a hundred years ago, India's great poet, Rabindranath Tagore called Korea the Lamp of the East. Today, Korea is proving him right.

Korea's economic miracle and global leadership in technology has made the promise of the Asian Century more real.

Korea is a pillar of democracy and a force of stability in Asia and Pacific.

Asia's re-emergence is the greatest phenomenon of our era.

It started in Japan and then extended to China, Korea and Southeast Asian nations.

In the West, nations like Qatar are transforming their desert landscapes into booming economies.

It is now India's turn to sustain Asia's success.

It is a nation of 1.25 billion people blessed with the extraordinary resources in the form of 800 million youth.

India's potential has never been in doubt. And, in the course of the past year, we are translating promise into a reality; hope into confidence.

India's growth has rebounded to 7.5% per year; and, the prospects of further increase are strong.

The world speaks in one voice that India is the new bright spot of hope for our region and the world.

The progress of one-sixth of humanity will also be an opportunity for the world.

It will also give India the capacity to do more for our world.

Above all, India's progress will be an Asian success story. And, it will help make our Asian dream a bigger reality.

This is because Asia will succeed more when all of Asia rises together.

Asia must not have two faces – one of hope and prosperity; the other of want and despair.

It must not be a continent of nations on the rise and others in decline; of regions with stability and others with broken institutions.

India seeks an Asia of shared prosperity, where the success of one nation becomes the strength of the other.

Growth must be more inclusive within and across nations. This is the obligation of national governments, but also a regional responsibility.

That is why the future I dream for India is also the future I want for our neighbours.

As some of us in Asia become more prosperous , we must be prepared to share our resources and markets with those who need them.

I am pleased to see many in Asia assume that responsibility.

This is the principle that guides India's policies. And, it comes from our timeless belief in the world as one family “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”

We must also empower our youth with skills and education, so that they can look to the future with hope.

Over the next 40 years, three billion Asians will lift themselves into a higher level of prosperity. Asia's prosperity and rising population will place a huge demand on our limited resources.

So, our footprint on earth must become lighter as our economic weight increases.

That is why I have often called for a change in lifestyle and new pathways to prosperity. And, I believe it is possible, without compromising our future.

Asia must also use its capacity for innovation and frugal manufacturing for affordable renewable energy.

Reverence for nature is part of our shared heritage. Combating climate change is in our enlightened self-interest.

That is why India has set a goal of 175 Giga Watts of new renewable energy capacity over the next five years.

But, coal and oil will remain the key source of energy for all of us for a long time to come. So, let us work together to make them cleaner and less harmful for Nature.

Our vision of inclusive growth will be incomplete unless we pool our innovation and technologies to transform our region's agriculture.

Many of us have similar ecosystems and rural economies. And, we have a long history of learning from each other.

By 2025, a majority of Asians will live in cities. Many urban clusters in Asia will exceed the population of mid-sized countries elsewhere in the world. By then, by some estimates, India will host around 11% of the global urban population.

So, creating livable and sustainable cities of tomorrow should be our collective goal.

That is why in India, I have placed so much emphasis on urban renewal and smart cities. And, there is much that we can learn from cities like Seoul.

If Asia must rise as one, Asia should no longer think of itself in regional fragments. Today, what happens in West Asia has a strong impact on East Asia. And what happens on the oceans will have influence on the Asian highlands.

India is located at Asia's crossroads. And, we will assume our responsibility to build an inter-connected Asia.

We must connect our regions through infrastructure and integrate them through trade and investments.

We must also do everything possible to secure lasting peace and stability for Asia.

This year, as we observe the 100th and 70th anniversary of the two wars, we should remember that peace is not inevitable.

We must build institutions that promote cooperation on the principles of equality, co-existence and international rules and norms.

This will also mean that we work together to safeguard our commons for the benefit of all – our oceans, outer space and the cyber space.

This is a responsibility of each nation towards one another.

It is also our collective task against our common challenges –terrorism; trans-national crimes; natural disasters; and, diseases.

Asia of dynamism, but also of uncertainties must lead in shaping its course.

But, Asia of growing weight will also have to take greater responsibility for the world.

And, it must also seek a larger role in global affairs.

We must work as Asians to reform the global institutions of governance, including the United Nations and its Security Council.

Asia of rivalries will hold us back. Asia of unity will shape the world.

In conclusion, I wish to say this.

Through its history, Asia has been linked by the flow of religions, culture, knowledge and trade.

And, Asia has also given much to the world – great religions, our staples such as tea and rice, some of the finest human creations, and some of the most significant inventions and technologies.

We have risen from tragic conflicts and the long shadow of colonialism.

We have also seen Asia's strength and spirit.

Let us now draw upon our heritage and synergies, our ancient wisdom and youthful energy, to pursue a common purpose.

For ourselves and the world.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thanks a lot.


Text of PM’s statement at India-Republic of Korea CEOs Forum:

 President of the Republic of Korea, Park Geun-hye, prominent CEOs of the two countries, other representatives of business and industry, ladies and gentlemen

I am extremely happy to be here with you this morning. I also thank you for being with us. I hope the interactions among the CEOs of the two sides would have been very fruitful.

Friends! India and Korea have had cordial relations from the ancient past. The relationship between the two countries goes back to the first century, when an Indian Princess travelled from the kingdom of Ayodhya in North India to Korea by a boat.

She married the Korean King Suro and she became the first queen of the South Korean kingdom. Several Koreans trace their lineage to her.

We are also bound by the Buddhist traditions. A famous Korean visitor to India was Hyecho, a Buddhist monk who visited India in the eighth century to know the language and culture of the land of Buddha. He wrote the "account of travel to the five Indian kingdoms".

We have so much in common. No wonder then that Bollywood films are very popular in Korea.

Friends! I am here to build upon this relationship. In fact, I have always been fascinated by Korea. I came here when I was Chief Minister of Gujarat and even before that. Honestly speaking, while in Gujarat, I used to wonder as to how a country of the size of Gujarat can do so much economic progress. I admire the spirit of entrepreneurship of the Korean people. I admire the way in which they have created and sustained their global brands.

From IT and Electronics to Automobile and Steel, Korea has given exemplary products to the world. Similarly, Korean companies are very strong in construction sector and were involved in building iconic structures around the world. You also have an impressive infrastructure and record for R & D as well as innovation.

We in India want to achieve a lot of what Korea has already done. That is why I, along with a large business delegation, are here. The good news is that India-Korea bilateral trade has risen after signing of Korea-India CEPA in January 2010.

The South Korean investment zone in Rajasthan State is progressing well.

Several Hundred Korean companies are operating in India. Lot of your products particularly in Consumer Electronics are household choices for Indians. And many of them are being produced there. Hyundai Motor is the 2nd largest car manufacturer of India.

However, there is still a lot of scope for improvement. South Korea ranks only 14th in FDI flows in India. I can admit that the reason for this low volume of FDI lies with us not with you. But I can tell you that India was and is a land of potentials. Now, India is also a land of enabling policy environment. Moreover, there is renewed commitment of my Government for changing the face of the country. We can join hands in the mutual benefit of our people and industry. There is a lot that we can do together.

For example, there is potential for cooperation between India's software and Korea's hardware industry. Your car making and our designing capabilities can be put together. Though we have become the third biggest producer of steel, we need to add a lot of value in it. Your steel-making capacity and our resources of iron ore can be put together. Your ship-building capacity and our agenda of port led development can become driver of our growth. Infrastructure including housing is another field where we can work together in a big way.

In my last visit, I had gone to see your wonderful Saemangeum project. We have to create many such Saemangeums. Let us do this for mutual benefit and with a win-win spirit.

Friends! Since my Government has taken over, we are working day and night to create conditions for faster and inclusive growth. We want a quantum jump in all this. There is no time for incremental changes. The sectors which are strong in Korea are very important for the development of my country. Many of you are already present in India. For those who are not there, I extend an invitation to come to India and explore the opportunities.

With your presence in India and through your interactions with our CEOs, you must already be knowing what we are doing and in which direction we are going. I would only throw some light on the size and scale of the opportunities.  

Water, Transportation, Railways, Sea ports, ship-building, Electricity including renewable, IT infrastructure and services, Electronics, Construction Industry, are all very promising sectors in my country.

Just to give you some examples: we have planned to build 50 million houses by 2022. In addition, we are going to develop smart cities, long industrial corridors, and mega investment regions. For this purpose, we have refined our FDI Policy in construction. We have eased the conditions for Real Estate Investment Trusts for making investments. We are also coming up with a regulatory framework for this sector.

We have targeted 175 Giga Watt of renewable energy in next few years. In addition to generation, the issues of transmission and distribution of electricity are equally important for us.

We are keen to modernize our Railways, We are planning metro rail in fifty cities and high speed trains in various corridors. We have to upgrade our Highways.

This year we have made maximum allocation for these two sectors. In addition we have opened up Railways for 100% FDI.

We are putting up new ports and modernizing the old ones through an ambitious plan called Sagarmala. There is a similar focus on upgrading the existing Airports and putting up regional airports to enhance connectivity to places of economic and tourist importance.

We particularly want to promote manufacturing in a big way to create jobs for our youth. For this purpose, we have launched a campaign called “Make in India”. This campaign and commitment includes bringing our industrial infrastructure, policies and practices to best global standards and to convert India into a global manufacturing hub. To provide digital infrastructure across the country, we have launched another campaign called Digital India.

Cleaner and greener development and Zero defect Zero effect manufacturing is another commitment. We have launched a clean India campaign with emphasis on adoption of better environmental technologies.

To enable all this, in last eleven months, we have taken a series of measures to improve the business environment and enhance the investor confidence. We do believe that ‘ease of doing Business’ has become an important factor in attracting investments in the country. We also believe that FDI is important and it will not come in the country without a globally competitive business environment. So, we are working aggressively for making India a very easy place to do business.

To create employment and self-employment opportunities in the country, we have launched the Skill India Mission and other innovative missions. On the other hand, we have fast tracked approvals in industry and infrastructure. This includes environmental clearances, industrial and shipping licences. In addition, we also enhanced the FDI limits in key sectors like Defence and Insurance. We also refined the FDI policy in medical devices sector to encourage the manufacturing of medical equipment.

Within a very short time, we introduced GST Bill in parliament. We are making our taxation system more stable, predictable and transparent. We have already resolved many taxation issues affecting the foreign investors. This is all to become more conducive for business and bring in technology and capital.

We have got good results of these initial steps. The sentiments for private investment and inflow of foreign investment are positive. Our growth rate is above 7%. FDI inflows have gone up by 39% during April-2014 and February-2015 against the same period in previous year.

Many international financial institutions including the World Bank, IMF, OECD and others are predicting even faster growth in the coming years. MOODY’s have recently upgraded the rating of India as positive on account of our concrete steps in various economic segments.

Thus, we have restored the global positioning of India in terms of its politics, governance and economy. But we are not going to stop here. We have to and we will do a lot better.

Friends! once again, I invite you to India to see the change. We are also prepared to work with you in making the conditions more conducive for you.

Yesterday, I announced the forming of a dedicated mechanism for hand holding of Korean investors. It will be known as Korea Plus. In addition I assure you of my personal attention if there are any issues.

Thank you.

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