In May last year, in what were the largest elections in the history of mankind, the people of India voted my government into office. For the first time in three decades, Indian voters gave a clear majority mandate to a government. The verdict was for change and for good and effective governance. In the last 11 months, we have come a long way in keeping this promise. This has not happened by chance. My government has earnestly taken up the challenge of development and economic transformation of India. For us, development is not a mere political agenda; it is an article of faith. We have initiated specific policies and actions to realise our vision for New Age India with a clear set of economic goals and objectives.
Generating jobs for India’s youthful population is a key to harnessing India’s demographic advantage. This can be achieved only when we significantly and quickly ramp up our manufacturing capabilities. To meet this objective, my government has unveiled the “Make in India” initiative. This is a win-win for everyone. The employment opportunities that new manufacturing will generate will enhance the purchasing power of our people. This in turn will create a market for more trade and investment.
Our strategy for “Make in India” requires the urgent creation of new infrastructure. The substantial enhancement in financing in the federal budget for highways, railways and energy is a step in this direction. My government has pledged a stable and transparent tax regime, to reduce corporate taxes and to implement a single goods and services tax.
We recognise that the availability of a skilled workforce is a prerequisite for manufacturing growth. My government is giving the highest priority to the “Skill India” programme. We will focus on promoting models of vocational training according to the specific needs of local industry, and to adopt best practices.
As a former chief minister of the state of Gujarat, I recognise that these ambitious objectives can be realised only through cooperation between the federal government and our 29 states. We are creating structures to enable them to become partners of our export and investment strategy. We have also adopted a strategy of cooperative and competitive federalism, where the states spur each other into greater effort through healthy competition.
International support and collaboration is equally critical to achieving our objectives. I have, therefore, sought to build a foreign policy that is an integral part of our national development strategy. My interactions with the leaders of the US, Russia, France, Japan and China have all aimed at creating enduring partnerships, with shared stakes in global development and wellbeing.
Germany enjoys a special place in this context. We share a strategic partnership based on our common values. India desires a mutually beneficial partnership for growth and prosperity with Germany. Our priorities fit well with Germany’s expertise. India’s development needs can become business opportunities for German industry.
We take satisfaction from the presence of more than 1,600 Indo-German collaborations. Nonetheless, a great deal of potential remains unrealised. Higher levels of investments are possible, and indeed desirable. Germany is globally renowned for its engineering, innovation and skills. The capacities of your Mittelstand and family-owned businesses are well known. I invite them to come to India.
My visit to Germany and India’s participation at the Hannover Messe as a partner country is aimed at realising the immense possibilities that exist between us. In my discussions with Chancellor [Angela] Merkel and the captains of German industry, I intend to share our sense of optimism and confidence in our future plans. I will also listen carefully to learn what more we can do to address concerns of German entrepreneurs with regard to investment and manufacturing in India.
We see Germany as our preferred partner in developing the skills of young Indians. We also want to learn from Germany’s pathbreaking experiences in renewable energy. We wish to replicate your success in solar rooftop projects and off-grid solar and wind power solutions, as well as your expertise in grid integration and management. Our smart city project can utilise your technologies to achieve water, waste and urban development objectives. We admire Germany’s achievements in the application of technology solutions to meet environmental challenges. You are also our natural ally in my government’s “Clean India” initiative. We also want to benefit from Germany’s experience in cleaning the River Ganga. We invite your transport companies, including your railways, to assist us in the modernisation of our transport networks. Your logistics and infrastructure companies can contribute to the ongoing development of industrial corridors in India.
I visualise India as a key engine of global growth. Our democratic principles and practices are guarantors of stability. We have a free media and an independent judiciary that allows all opinions to be aired without fear. We believe in “Rahein Saath, Badhe Saath (stay together, grow together)”. There is no other way forward.