Narendra Modi invites Turkish firms to India’s feast of infrastructure

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Turkey’s construction industry to bid for the bonanza of infrastructure projects being planned for India in the next five years – preferably with finance attached.

Speaking at a New Delhi banquet in honour of Turkish president Recep ErdoÄŸan, Modi said his country was planning to construct metro rail projects in 50 cities, high-speed train lines in a number of economic development corridors, a massive programme of works on the country’s 4.9 million km of roads, 50 million housing units, 175GW of renewable energy, as well as the refurbishment and renewal of much the country’s electricity transmission, storage and distribution system.

He also invited Turkish investors to participate in India’s infrastructure development and smart cities projects, and he added that although Turkish construction companies were undertaking massive projects in other countries, they were not looking at opportunities in India.

"I understand Turkish construction companies have undertaken many infrastructure projects in other countries. We also have huge opportunities here in the infrastructure sector, Turkish companies can invest in it easily," Modi said, reports newspaper The Hindu.

Observers note that India may be more open to Turkish investment because of the relative lack of competition from Chinese companies. Diplomatic relations between the two Asian superpowers, India and China, continue to be cool, contrasting with China’s ever closer links to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

However, Omair Anas, a research fellow at the Indian Council of World Affairs, told the ConnectedtoIndia business website that one problem that had to be overcome was the strength of India’s domestic sector.

Erdogan, who arrived in India on 30 April, was accompanied by a 150 Turkish company heads to explore investment opportunities. He said Turkey would be willing to cooperate in high-speed railways, smart cities, renewable energy and tourism.

However, he also complained that the Indian industry was not investing enough in his country. He said: "Although bilateral trade between India and Turkey is growing, it is not in Turkey’s favour. In terms of investments, Indian industry should invest more. The investments coming in now are not sustainable for Turkey. There should be reciprocal investments."

The Indian industry’s overseas projects include the Herat dam in and Kabul parliament in Afghanistan and Chhabahar port in Iran, where India is eying a new trade route to western Afghanistan and central Asia that bypasses Pakistan.

India’s Punj Lloyd and Turkey’s Limak Holding are working together on a section of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline pipeline between the Caspian Sea and Italy. The pipeline spans 459km and expected to be complete by 2018.

Bilateral trade between the two countries rose to $6.4bn last year from $2.8 billion in 2008. The leaders set a target of $10bn by 2020.

This is ErdoÄŸan’s second visit to India. He earlier visited India as Turkey’s Prime Minister in 2008.

India’s 2012-17 five-year plan allocated $1 trillion for infrastructure investment.

Image: The two heads of state met under the auspices of India’s Chamber of Commerce (Office of the Prime Minister)

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