Modi woos Spanish firms, 'great time for you to invest in India'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday invited Spanish firms to invest in India which offers "many opportunities" for them in various fields as the two countries signed seven agreements and vowed to strengthen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit Spain since 1992, met the European country's top leadership and said India and Spain maintain close and cordial relations and he sees great potential in this collaboration.
The prime minister held wide-ranging talks with President of the Spanish government Mariano Rajoy at the Moncloa Palace this morning in the first engagement during his stay here.
After the talks, the two sides signed seven agreements, including pacts on transfer of sentenced persons and visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports.
Five MoUs were signed between the two countries on cooperation in organ transplantation, cyber security, renewable energy, civil aviation and one between India's Foreign Service Institute and Diplomatic Academy of Spain.
Spain is the 12th largest investor in India and the seventh largest trading partner in the EU. There are more than 200 Spanish companies in India that are actively involved in road construction projects, railways, wind power, water desalination, defense and smart cities. There are more than 40 Indian companies in Spain, in the fields of technology, pharmaceuticals, automotive and energy. Two-way trade totalled $5.27 billion in 2016.
Modi encouraged Spanish infrastructure, tourism, energy and defense companies to invest in priority sectors in India, saying "it's a great time for Spanish companies to invest in India."
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay termed the meeting a "fresh impetus to a multifarious relationship".
Modi also called for boosting bilateral cooperation to fight terrorism as "both our countries have faced the security challenge."
Spain, the summer holiday destination of Europe, in a recent government report said that the Islamic State group "has been publishing in Spanish, which means an increase in the risk of its influence on radicals living in our country".
In "on Wednesday's global context", Modi said, the focus of his discussion in Spain will be on the international developments. The prime minister praised the Spanish president saying under Rajoy's leadership the country has undergone economic reforms "which is also the biggest priority of my government."
He said railways, smart cities and infrastructure sectors were the priority areas for India and Spain has "enough skills and mastery" to contribute to India's requirements.