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Modi and his ‘Make in India’ lion pitch hard for investments

Hannover, April 12 The familiar lion-logo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign was painted all over this German town, as he made a strong pitch to attract more foreign capital, especially in 25 identified sectors — from automobiles to wellness.

From large billboards at prime locales to trams and busses, all were draped with the lion-logo in focus for the “Make in India” pitch, as Modi began his visit here meeting, among others, with Who’s Who of German industry.

His main itinerary in this town was the opening of Hannover Messe with Chancellor Amngela Merkel. The fair, for the record, is as old as India’s independence, with the first held in a factory before moving to its own premises.

Apart from a round-table with the chief executives, the prime minister also met several of them individually, notably Lutz Bertling of Bombardier Transportation, Hubert Lienhard of Voith, Dieter Zetsche of Daimler and Olaf Koch of Metro.

India’s Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was among the key interlocutors.

Anshu Jain, one of the most prominent business leaders of Indian origin in Germany and the co-chief executive of Deutche Bank, was also present at the round-table. Later, he was seen next to the prime minister, interacting with him during the photo-opp.

Jochen Kockler, the member of the Deutsche Messe managing board, which holds what is touted as the world’s largest business fairs in this city, some 285 km from capital Berlin, set the tone for India, which is the partner country this year, after a gap of nine years.

“India is an emerging economic giant which is going to open up enormous sales potential for our German and international exhibitors at Hannover Messe,” Kockler said, and hoped global corporations would also benefit from India’s “amazing” growth story.

The organisers said India’s most recent participation as the partner country in 2006 had led more than 350 Indian exhibitors and 5,700 Indian attendees to visit the fair. Last year, 122 exhibitors and 2,400 visitors were from India.

“Having India as the partner country will allow us to greatly expand those figures,” Kockler said, adding India-Germany enjoyed $16.1 billion bilateral trade, with a trade surplus in favour of his country which reflected the Indian appetite for capital goods and machinery.

“Modi is promoting the modernization of India’s factories and infrastructure and a greater foreign investment in local production,” said the information docket handed out at the fair, calling the prime minister a “beacon of hope” for the nation’s 1.2 billion people.

“He is convinced that production industries form the backbone of the Indian economy, and to develop that backbone, the emerging Indian economy has an active interest in German infrastructure, research and technology.”

Incidentally, the home state of the prime minister, Gujarat, hosts the famous Gir forest that is the sole home of the Asiatic lion — the graphic depiction of which is making a splurge at this yea’s fair, which is open to visitors from April 13-17.

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