India is holding its first-ever maritime summit as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged a massive boost for the sector in the coming years. The Indian leader promised to restore the country's "position of eminence in the global maritime sector" by modernising ports.
Assuring that up to 10 million jobs would be created in the next decade Modi said that his government would help harness untapped resources in the maritime sector. He said the New Delhi administration wants to mobilise investment of Rs1tn (£10.6bn, $14.9bn) into development of ports.
Inviting global payers, at the inaugurating of a three-day summit in the financial capital of Mumbai, Modi said: "This is the right time to come to India, it is even better time to come through the sea-route."
"I call upon the international community to partner with us for port-led development that will be an engine of growth," he said and added that India's vast coastline of 7,500km will be an opportunity for growth.
India plans to set up at least five new ports in the near future. This is beside the initiatives made by various coastal states in establishing ports.
Adding a personal touch in calling upon potential foreign investors, Modi went on to say: "Once you are here, I assure you that I will personally hold your hands to see that your berthing is safe, secure and satisfactory."
Experts and CEOs from more than 40 countries have gathered in Mumbai to attend the summit, during when deals worth Rs800bn are expected to be signed. South Korea is also a partner country in the event. The shipping ministry is showcasing as many as 250 major projects at the summit under the ambitious Sagarmala [garland of oceans] programme.
The Indian prime minister continued: "With more than 14,000 kilometers of navigable inland waterways in the country, there is tremendous potential for development in this sector. My government is committed to integration in infrastructure. We are also committed to creating an enabling environment for investors and facilitating investments with an open mind."