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How PM Modi Wooed Top American CEOs to 'Make in India'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked top American companies to invest in India, saying the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime next month would make the country a more business-friendly destination.

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Updated:June 26, 2017, 11:16 AM IST
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How PM Modi Wooed Top American CEOs to 'Make in India'
The round table interaction Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with 20 American CEOs at the Willard Hotel included Tim Cook of Apple, Sunder Pichai from Google, John Chambers from Cisco, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Mastercard president Ajay Banga. (Twitter/@narendramodi)
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New Delhi/Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked top American companies to invest in India, saying the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime next month would make the country a more business-friendly destination.

The round table interaction Modi had with 20 American CEOs at the Willard Hotel included Tim Cook of Apple, Sunder Pichai from Google, John Chambers from Cisco, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Mastercard president Ajay Banga.

US-India Business Council (USIBC) president Mukesh Aghi said the H-1B visa issue was not discussed at the meeting.

Here’s a look at the highlights of the interaction:

In the meeting that lasted around 90 minutes, PM Modi held “extensive discussions on opportunities in India”, he tweeted. He spoke about the reforms undertaken by his government, saying they numbered over 7,000, and were aimed at "ease of (doing) business and minimum government, maximum governance”.

Modi also said that India attracted the largest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) as a result of the NDA government's policies in the last three years.

The PM told the CEOs that the world is now focused on India's economy, especially in areas like manufacturing, trade, commerce, and people-to-people contact, due to a young population and a rising middle-class.

ALSO READ | From Dig at China to Praise for Sushma: 10 Things Modi told Indian-Americans

Inviting investments, Modi told them that India's growth presents a win-win partnership for the country and the US, and American companies have a great opportunity to contribute to that. "Growth of India presents win-win partnership for India and US both. American companies have a great opportunity to contribute…. If America becomes stronger, India will be a natural beneficiary," he said.

Talking about GST, Modi said its implementation may well turn out to be "a subject of studies in US business schools." "The implementation of the landmark initiative of GST could be a subject of studies in US business schools…. This shows India can take big decisions and implement them swiftly," Modi said.

ALSO READ | H-1B Visa Issue 'Not Discussed' at PM's Meeting with US Tech Giants

The Prime Minister pointed out opportunities for tourism through developing hotels in "PPP (public private partnership) model" at 500 railway stations. Modi said his government has focused on improving the quality of life of the people, and added that working towards this end requires a global partnership. Therefore, he added, India is working on principles like 'Minimum Government, Maximum Governance', efficiency, transparency, growth and benefit for all.

According to a tweet by Gopal Bagley, spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, Modi concluded the speech by “stressing the importance of cooperation for start-ups, innovation, education and vocational training potential in India.

PM Modi also gave a patient hearing to the wish-list of the business honchos. They reportedly lauded the Prime Minister's initiatives of demonetisation and digitisation of economy and the GST. The CEOs also expressed support for Make in India, Digital India, Start Up India and other flagship initiatives of the government.

Several CEOs also reportedly showed willingness to be partners in skill development and education initiatives in India. They also mentioned social initiatives being undertaken by their companies in India in women empowerment, digital technology, education and food processing. Infrastructure, defence manufacturing and energy security also came up for discussion during the meeting.

Pichai told reporters after the meeting that they were excited about investing in India. Praising the steps being taken by the Indian government in the last three years, he said the US companies are looking forward to the roll out of the GST. "Good," said Cook as he emerged out of the meeting.

Among other CEOs present at the meeting were Shantanu Narayen from Adobe, David Farr from Emerson, Doug McMillon from Walmart, and Punit Renjen from Deloitte Global, Jim Umpleby from Caterpillar, Alex Gorsky from Johnson and Johnson, Jamie Dimon from J P Morgan Chase, and Marillyn Hewson from Lockheed Martin.
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