Union transportation minister Nitin Gadkari
NEW DELHI: Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said there is growing confidence between India and the US that all outstanding trade issues will be resolved soon, and urged American firms to explore huge investment opportunities in India. Addressing Indo-US Partnership Vision Summit, Gadkari said that India and the US have reached principle agreement in the area of defence, security, energy and trade.
“Indo-US partnership is the most important partnership of the 21 century.
“… In the new era of relationship, the national interest of India and US are converging and there is growing confidence between both administration that all outstanding trade issue will be resolved and major trade agreement will be signed soon,” he said.
The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out certain issues and promote two-way commerce.
In 2018-19, India’s exports to the US stood at USD 52.4 billion, while imports were USD 35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from USD 21.3 billion in 2017-18 to USD 16.9 billion in 2018-19.
The road transport and highways minister noted that on strategic fronts, our bilateral relationship has always ensured peace, prosperity and security across both regions.
“Both countries are working to address contentious issues to make the partnership based on mutual trust and respect. We stand hand in hand against terrorism and authoritarianism,” he said, adding the US renamed its pacific military command to the Indo-Pacific command.
Gadkari, who also holds the MSME portfolio, said there is a huge opportunity for investment in the infrastructure sector in India.
“Indian government is working to build world-class infrastructure for its citizen. It aims to improve highways, road and ports,” he said, adding India is the fastest growing economy and the rate of return is very good.
Gadkari, however, pointed out that investors will have to cover their investments with hedging while investing in NHAI projects.
“There’s a huge opportunity for investment in infrastructure including airports, metro rail, railway stations. There is also an opportunity of investment now in the electricity in public transport…” he noted.
The minister said currently, India’s automobile industry is worth Rs 7 lakh crore.
“In the next five years, I want to make India the number one hub of automobile manufacturing,” he said.
The minister said the MSME sector in the country also provides a golden opportunity for investors in the US as the performance in the sector is growing and has huge potential for exports.
Gadkari also noted that the government focusing on the diversification of agriculture.
“Besides, we are working to increase the share of renewable energy… We are laying emphasis on hydrogen fuel cell battery technology,” he said.
Further, the minister said there is huge potential for investment in the power sector, especially the green energy segment.
“There is a lot of potential in solar energy. India is the fastest-growing economy, the internal rate of return is very good, and you will get good returns as compared with the US, I’m confident that you will get at least two times more returns from investment in India,” he added.