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PM Narendra Modi opening up India, removing hurdles: Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World

Economic Times:  January 27, 2017

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is helping to open up India’s economy and reduce bureaucratic delays, DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem told ET’s Mohit Bhalla in an interview.

The port operator runs 70 terminals in 31countries and has invested more than $1.2 billion in India.

Sulayem was in India as part of a large business delegation accompanying Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.

Edited excerpts: What role do you see DP world playing in India?

First of all, official visits are very important for us as investors in India. We have been here in the port business for a few years now and operate six terminals and have a 30% market share. But the agreement reached between the two heads of state really puts a plan into action for India and UAE to cooperate further.

Do you foresee that regulations will become more investor-friendly in the port sector? Do you have any specific expectations?

I think so far the government has removed many of the obstacles. I think we are very pleased. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is opening up India and removing bureaucratic intervention and delays.

How much capital have you committed in India so far?

We have invested about $1.2 billion. At the last investor meet we have committed further $1billion investment in India.

What is the potential you believe for freight volumes to increase in India and for your business to grow as a whole?

India and China have similar populations but India’s trade generates about 10 million containers a year whereas China generates 100 million containers. The potential here is huge and India has more entrepreneurs than China. There are almost 2.5 million non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the UAE, so potential between UAE and India to trade is also vast and I believe this government will be able to unlock it.

Are you exploring any strategic alliances in India?

We are looking and when we find a partner and are able to reach an agreement which works for both parties we will go ahead.

How do you think foreign investors perceive India’s potential?

The fact that the government is looking at Make in India and facilitating foreign investors, I think it will make it very attractive. Everybody is aware of India’s potential but people fear bureaucracy and delays which is now actually not the case, we can feel it.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.