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India: modern, competitive but caring and compassionate

Monday, 28th January 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has hailed his country as the only one offering the world democracy, demography and demand. Making up one sixth of humanity, he said, India's socio-economic gains are beacons of hope in the struggle for global economic growth and poverty reduction. Referring to India as a land of opportunity, Narendra Modi assured the international audience of prospective investors' security of person and property. The Prime Minister was speaking to over 30,000 delegates to the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar Museum Complex, on 18th January. In the audience were the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Malta, Czech Republic and Uzbekistan. Other delegates were Ministers from across the globe, diplomatic envoys as well as union government and state officials of India. India's diplomatic and economic partners from the west included UN bodies, the Commonwealth, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States of America and France. Asia was represented by the presence of senior officials from several countries including China, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.

Most of the thousands of people in the audience he addressed were, however, members of the corporate world. Among these were top giant corporation owners and executives including the Japanese car magnate Toshihiro Suzuki. Suzuki unveiled plans to build a second car assembly plant, which will make hybrid cars for India in the State of Gujarat. Reflecting the successful coming of age of indigenous Indian industry, India's own giant, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Group announced plans to set up in Gujarat State, an e - commerce platform to challenge the global monopoly in this area by Amazon, the e-commerce giant. Another Indian son, the giant Gautam Adani announced a new multi-million dollar investment in solar, copper, cement and lithium batteries manufacturing plant also to be located in Gujarat.

It is investments like these which fuel India's economic growth, making her the fastest growing economy in the world. Both exogenous and endogenous firms and capital take advantage of the country's ease of doing business and her highly investment-friendly climate. Remarking on this, Modi applauded the US$263 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) which had been ploughed into India in the last ten years.

Apart from the inaugural conference, the Vibrant Gujarat Summit featured a grand four-day trade show displaying top quality goods, processes and technologies. Of interest to Uganda were the displays on new and renewable energy, agricultural mechanization and agro value-addition displays including agricultural machinery and irrigation technologies, skills development displays, micro, small and medium enterprises as well as incubation/start-up models. The Summit also featured global meetings of chambers of commerce; conclaves on solar energy as well as on textiles and textile industry.

Day three of the Show was Africa Day and witnessed the presence of ministers and senior government officials from the Continent including Namibia, Rwanda, The Republic of Congo, Uganda, etc. Uganda's delegation was led by Hon Okello Oryem, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of International Cooperation. Okello Oryem made an ardent call for increased economic collaboration between Uganda and India. He dismissed the persistent shadow of Idi Amin and the 1970s expulsion of Asians from Uganda; assuring the Summit that Idi Amin and his policies were a thing of the past. The Minister reiterated the current Government's commitment to strong relations with India; underlining the fact that Uganda lays a premium on Indian investment, trade and tourism and other mutually beneficial activities.