Why India?

The demands of a fast-growing economy like India provide tremendous opportunities for EU-India collaboration. India can benefit from the know-how in the fields of technology and best practices from the EU that have been tried and tested. The boost from the current Indian government will provide European companies an enabling environment in which to invest, partner, and provide solutions to help India execute their plans and mandates. 



India's diverse economy successfully encompasses everything from traditional agriculture to high end infrastructures, with advanced engineering contributing equally to the preservation of the primary occupation and the betterment of the urban society, through the introduction of a wide range of modern industries and services. India has emerged as an economy with unique acumen in entrepreneurial and information technology ventures. 

With an annual GDP growth rate of around 7.5%, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world (currently ranked 7th after France). It also ranks among the top 10 foreign direct investments (FDI) destinations globally - surpassing USD 50 billion in the financial year (FY) 2015-16. India has shown a growth of 46% in FDI equity inflow and 37% in overall FDI inflow since the launch of the Make in India initiative. Within the last three years, India’s rank at the Ease of Doing Business Index has improved by four ranks.

India accounted for 1.7% of global merchandise exports in 2014, compared to 0.8% in early 2000. Exports have increased at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 11.6% in FY 2010 to USD 310 billion and Foreign exchange reserves have been at a comfortable level over recent years (USD 371.279 billion in Q4/ 2016).


India not only has one of the largest populations in the world (around 1.3 billion), but also one of the youngest. 50% of its population is under 25 years old, and two-thirds under 35. About 65% of Indians are in the working age group of 15-64 years, giving the country a significant edge in terms of cost competitiveness and low labour costs. Moreover, India’s labour force has a strong knowledge base with a significant English-speaking population, making it a top destination for multinational corporations looking to expand their overseas operations. 

This also means that India’s consumer market is increasing dramatically. Consumer spending in India grew from US$ 549 billion to US$ 1.06 trillion between 2006 and 2011, putting India on the path to becoming one of the world’s largest consumer markets by 2025. India’s consumption is expected to rise 7.3% annually over the next 20 years. 

This rise of India’s “new middle class” is globally significant as it will usher fundamental changes in India and around the world by triggering waves of innovation in the production, distribution and delivery of goods and services, including government services. 


Support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at a high. The legislative elections in Uttar Pradesh in March 2017 showed sweeping support for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Modi government. Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, accounts for 16% of the country’s population, with over 200 million inhabitants. The BJP won with a phenomenal majority of more than 77% of the seats in the state assemblies. 

These results will contribute to the stability of the Indian political landscape, with Modi and his party stronger than ever and in position to push through key reform measures and initiatives. The election outcome, which came in the backdrop of demonetization in late 2016, was proof that Modi had not lost the support of his base. The expected stability should also trigger a new wave of investments by the domestic industry, fuelling growth in the next years.

The Prime Minister, in his address at 104th Indian Science Congress in January 2017, had reaffirmed his objective to have India among the top three countries in the world in science and technology by 2030. This goes hand in glove with his major projects since coming to power in 2014. Indeed, Modi has launched many important initiatives in domains India has identified as key to its future, among those energy, environment, industry, technology, and the digital economy.


  • Sagarmala Project: The project includes modernization of ports, setting up of coastal economic zones, new major ports and fish harbours. Capital outlay of USD 10 billion (Ministry of Shipping).
  • AMRUT: Its aim is to recast urban landscape and make urban centres more liveable and inclusive. Capital outlay of USD 7.69 billion.
  • Roads & Highways: Development of about 7000 km of national highways under Bharatmala Pariyojana. Capital outlay of USD 12 billion.
  • Railways: Dedicated freight corridor for decongesting existing network. Capital outlay of USD 12.3 billion.
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, or the Clean India Movement was launched in October 2014 as a campaign to clean the streets and infrastructures of India. It is India's largest ever initiative in this area. Its objective is the elimination of open defecation, modern and scientific municipal solid waste management and capacity augmentation for local ULB’s (Urban Local Bodies). The total cost of implementation of this initiative is INR 62,009 crores (approx. EUR 9 billion).
  • Clean Ganges: Modi has given strong support to the rejuvenation of the Ganges river, putting the National Ganga Council under his direct chairmanship and pushing forward initiatives to improve the quality and environment of what is today one of the heaviest polluted rivers in the world. In addition to the Ganges project, other rivers like the Yamuna are high on the radar.
  • Smart Cities: India’s Smart Cities Mission, which was launched in 2015, aims to foster sustainable and citizen-friendly urban development in the country, through an initiative called 100 Smart Cities. One of the main reasons for this massive project was to alleviate the metropolises and make other cities more liveable with good job opportunities. Some financing will come from the central government and states, the rest from development banks, public-private partnerships, etc. In addition to the 100 Smart Cities, there are several cities with big aspirations and the desire to implement smart solutions, Smart Port cities coming up, as well as various private cities for which the developers are looking for smart solutions. 

Other national strategies which will benefit from a strong Modi government include his flagship initiative, Make in India, which was launched by Prime Minister in 2014 with the goal to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub; Skill India, which aims to improve technical training on a large scale to provide the cutting-edge industries fostered by Make in India with the manpower they need; and Digital India, whose official objective is to “transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy” through digital infrastructures, e-services and citizens’ education.

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