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Modi reaffirms 'Act East' policy towards 'dynamic' ASEAN nations
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) grouping that most sectors of the Indian economy were open for foreign direct investment and that India was now a "globally integrated economy".
Modi reaffirms 'Act East' policy towards 'dynamic' ASEAN nations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told the ASEAN(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) grouping that most sectors of the Indian economy were open for foreign direct investment and that India was now a "globally integrated economy". "We are working day and night to ensure easy effective and transparent governance," said PM Modi.

Addressing the ASEAN Business Forum in Manila, the Philippines, Prime Minister Modi said: "The task of transforming India is proceeding on an unprecedented scale. More than 90% sectors of the Indian economy are on an automatic approval route when it comes to foreign investment."

Talking about his government's big initiatives such as rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and new laws and institutions for bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, PM Modi said as many as 1,200 outdated laws had been repealed in the past three years as part of reform measures.

"India has climbed 30 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index this year. It is the biggest jump by any country this year and a recognition of India's long term reform trajectory. And, the world is taking notice. We have moved up 32 places in the last two years in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum," the Prime Minister said, adding that these reforms coupled with demonetisation of high value notes had resulted in formalising of the Indian economy.

On connectivity with the ASEAN nations, Modi said India wanted to build land, sea and air connectivity to "this dynamic region" and that work was already on in the construction of the trilateral highway through Myanmar and Thailand to connect to other countries in South East Asia.
"We are working on the early conclusion of the Agreement on Maritime Transport between India and ASEAN and are exploring coastal shipping services with countries that are our immediate maritime neighbours," he added.

He also hoped to further boost the trade and investment cooperation between India and other ASEAN nations."The 'Act East' policy of my government puts this region at the centre of our engagement. We have exceptionally good political and people-to-people relations with each and every country in the ASEAN region," he said.

The ASEAN region along with India together comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over $3.8 trillion.

Earlier in the day, Modi met US President Donald Trump and said the relations between the two countries were growing, and that both the nations were working for the future interests of Asia and humanity. The two leaders discussed the security scenario in the region besides several other issues of mutual interests, including ways to further boost bilateral trade. Modi also thanked Trump for praising India whenever he got an opportunity to speak about the country during his Asia tour. "...in the few days wherever president Trump has travelled and whenever opportunity arose to talk about India, he has expressed very high opinion about India," Modi said.

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