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International relations

Modi courts investment from Japan's small and midsize businesses

Prime minister says Indian software and Japanese hardware can create 'a miracle'

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives the keynote address at a business symposium in Tokyo on Oct. 29. (Photo by Taro Yokosawa)

TOKYO -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called on Japan's medium, small and micro enterprises to explore opportunities in India, where he said the government is pulling out all the stops to improve the business environment.

"There are ample possibilities for Japan's [micro] SMEs in India," the prime minister said. "It's not only big companies but MSMEs that are welcome to India. Through MSMEs, too, Japanese entrepreneurs can take their businesses to new highs."

Modi was speaking at the "Make in India, Digital Partnership and India-Japan Partnership in Africa" symposium organized by Nikkei and JETRO.

The prime minster arrived in Japan on Saturday night to participate in the 13th annual summit between the two countries. He departs on Monday evening after talks with counterpart Shinzo Abe.

"Our number one priority is ease of doing business," Modi said, adding he assumed office in 2014 when India's World Bank ranking was 140, and which now stands at 100. "We are making all efforts at every level to improve [the business climate] further in years to come."

He promised to work on "ease of living" for expatriates in India to bring in more investment.

Modi also spoke of possible India-Japan cooperation in third countries covering fields such as health care and agriculture, apart from infrastructure and capacity building. He said the two countries will further cement their partnership for development work in third countries in the Indo-Pacific region, South Asia and Africa.

India and Japan, he added, can collaborate in solar energy to fight climate change through the International Solar Alliance, a global platform for cooperation among solar-resource rich countries.

"I always speak of a strong India, strong Japan," he said, inviting Japanese businesses to accelerate the pace of investment in his country. "I assure you that you will be helped in all possible ways to further consolidate India-Japan trade ties."

He also said that combining India's strengths in software with Japan's hardware could lead to "a miracle."

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