Best time to be in India, PM Modi woos Australian business honchos

Melbourne, Nov 18: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday wooed Australian industry leaders telling them "this is the best time to be in India" and promised them an investor-friendly and conducive environment for doing business in India.

Speaking in English without a prepared text, Modi told the top CEOs that his government was undertaking reforms to enhance ease of doing business. Meeting mining magnate Gina Rinehart, BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie, trucking magnate Lindsay Fox and Visy Industries chairman Anthony Pratt besides many others, Modi said that before his government took over in May, economic growth had slowed down over the last few years.

Best time to be in India for trade: Modi
"My government is making all efforts to ensure faster, all round inclusive growth to revive the economy, to create policy environment that is conducive, transparent and fair," he said.

"Our economic growth had slowed down in the last few years. But my government is working hard to create an environment to foster growth. The results have been encouraging, the economy registered 5.7 percent growth, one percent more than last year," he said.

"Want to draw your attention to one thing: the opportunities in tourism. Immense scope for investing in tourism infrastructure as well," he said, according to tweets posted by the Prime Minister's Office.

"Personally committed to environmental issues. We want to move to gas-based economy. That tells you how many LNG terminals we would need," he said, according to a tweet.

"Democratic values connect us. Want to hear from you all," he said.

At the CEOs Roundtable, Modi and the industry leaders discussed education, services, energy, banking and IT.

Among the other industry leaders attending the roundtable were Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton Ltd, Phil Edmands, managing director of Rio Tinto, and Tony Cripps, CEO of HSBC's operations in Australia.

The chief executives' roundtable was hosted by Victorian Governor Alex Chernov, involving about 30 business leaders with significant operations in India.

Top Indian business leaders like industrialist Gautam Adani, Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra and Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka were part of the roundtable.

Other CEOs included ONGC CMD Dinesh K. Sarraf, chairman emeritus of Torrent Pharmaceuticals Sudhir Mehta, chairman of Lanco Infrastructure L. Madhusudhan Rao, president of SP Jain School of Global Management Nitish Jain, CMD of Gujarat NRE Coke Ltd Arun Kumar Jagatramka and Australia India Institute director Amitabh Mattoo.


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