Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla | Photo: ANI
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla | Photo: ANI
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New Delhi: India has received over USD 20 billion in FDI amid the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Tuesday, showcasing the country as one of the most attractive destinations for investment globally.

In a virtual address at a CII event in the UK, the foreign secretary highlighted various structural reforms undertaken by India in even previously restricted sectors such as space, defence and atomic energy for greater private participation.

On ties between India and the UK, he said a comprehensive roadmap is being formulated to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries in the next decade.

“We see the UK as a key partner in Europe for a wide range of sectors including, trade, investments, defence, science and technology. Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson are committed to further strengthen our strategic partnership in the next decade, and a comprehensive roadmap for this is being formulated,” he said.

Shringla said both the countries are in a “unique position” to forge a “truly global partnership” and should not miss this opportunity.

The foreign secretary also invited British companies to invest in India, taking advantage of the country’s economic reform measures.

“The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched several historic reforms to improve the ease of doing business in India in the last six years. Today, India is one of the most open economies in the world. We have put in place a transparent and predictable tax regime,” he said.

Shringla talked extensively about implementation of various “ambitious” initiatives such as rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax, the Aadhaar biometric project, “groundbreaking reforms” in the agriculture sector and creation of infrastructure for railways, ports and airports.

“The success of the reforms launched by the Government is evident in the numbers. Even during the pandemic, we have received over USD 20 billion of FDI this year. While the global FDI declined by one per cent in 2019, FDI into India rose by 20 per cent in the same period,” he said.

The foreign secretary said several global technology majors have announced significant investments in India including USD 10 billion by Google, USD 5 billion by Facebook and USD 1.2 billion by Mubadala, the UAE’s Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Talking about India-UK economic partnership, he said the bilateral trade has been on an upward trajectory and touched 24 billion pounds in 2019 and that the country is the sixth largest investor in India with investments totalling USD 28.21 billion.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created severe economic challenges for both our countries. We can overcome these challenges by working together to create new opportunities for our business and industry,” said Shringla.

He said under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’ or self reliant India campaign, India has rolled out a stimulus package of about USD 270 billion for the economy.

The foreign secretary said research and development for vaccines for COVID-19 is a crucial area where there is potential for collaboration between India and the UK.

“Serum Institute of India is already working with the Oxford University-Astrazeneca on their vaccine project. I talked about the role played by India’s pharmaceutical sector in meeting the global demand for essential medicines during the pandemic,” he said.

“We are certain that our companies will play a similar role in the development of an affordable vaccine for COVID-19,” he added.


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