New Delhi - Asserting that India will very soon become the world's fifth largest economy by nominal GDP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government was working continuously to improve the business climate and called upon South Korean investors to take advantage of the country's potential in terms of its huge market and enabling policy environment.
Addressing the India-Korea Business Summit here, Modi said his government was working with a mission of transforming India "from an old civilisation into modern society and an informal economy into a formal economy."
He listed in detail steps taken over the last nearly four years to improve the business environment and assured Korean businessmen of his personal support in their contributions to the Indian economy.
"India is now ready for business. India is now a free destination for enterprise. You will not find such a free and growing market anywhere in the world. I further assure you that whatever is required to promote and protect your investments will be done here. Because we value your involvement and contribution in our economy. At a personal level too, I assure you of my full support whenever required," Modi said.
He said bilateral trade between India and South Korea in 2017 reached $20 billion, the first time in six years.
"South Korea ranks only 16th in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) equity inflows to India. India offers a lot of potential for the Korean investors with its huge market and enabling policy environment,"
Inviting companies to invest in India, he said: "In FDI, we are one of the most open countries now. Most of the sectors of our economy are open for FDI."
Modi added that more than 90% FDI approvals have been put on the automatic route.
There is practically no requirement of government approval for investments in the manufacturing sector except for the defence sector, Modi said.
"Very soon, we will become the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. We are also the fastest growing major economy of the world today," he added.
Modi said there were very few countries which have three factors of the economy together. "They are -- democracy, demography and demand. In India, we have all the three together," he said.
The Prime Minister said the partnership between the two countries has immense potential to promote regional growth, development, stability and prosperity in Asia. "India is turning to the east for bigger economic engagement. Similarly, South Korea is trying to diversify its overseas markets," he said.
Modi said India has one of the largest start-up ecosystems.
"Our vision is to create a globally competitive industry and services base equipped with skill, speed and scale. Therefore, we are continuously working to improve our investment climate," he said.
Noting that the government particularly wants to promote manufacturing in a big way to create jobs, he referred to the "Make in India" programme and said it includes bringing industrial infrastructure, policies and practices to best global standards and to convert India into a global manufacturing hub.
"This initiative has been well supplemented by programmes like 'Digital India' and 'Skill India'. Cleaner and greener development and Zero defect Zero effect manufacturing is another commitment."
He said India was moving for adoption of better environment technologies and there is a huge potential of cooperation between India's software and Korea's IT industry.
"Your car making and our designing capabilities can be put together. Though we have become the third biggest producer of steel, we need to add lot of value in it. Your steel-making capacity and our resources of iron ore can be put together for better products," he said.
He said South Korea's ship-building capacity and India's agenda of port led development can become a driver of mutual partnership.
Modi identified housing, smart cities, railway stations, water, transportation, railways, sea ports, energy including renewables, IT infrastructure and services, electronics as sectors with potential.
"Both stand to gain by deepening their partnership. India a huge and emerging market. It can also be a bridge for Korean business to penetrate the Middle East and African markets," Modi said.
Modi also recalled his fascination for South Korea and his visit to the country as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
"I used to wonder how a country of the size of Gujarat, could make such economic progress. I admire the spirit of enterprise of the Korean people. I admire the way in which they have created and sustained their global brands," he said.