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Gujarat now India's SEZ: Modi


Posted: Sep 06, 2007 at 1554 hrs IST

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the vibrant western Indian state has become 'India's Special Economic Zone', attracting both foreign and domestic investors.

"Now Gujarat has emerged as the SEZ of India," Modi told reporters after opening the Gujarat pavilion at the 'Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions' organized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Dalian, northeast China.

The opening of the Gujarat pavilion was attended by WEF Managing Director, Regional Agenda Teams & Global Growth Companies, Peter Torreele and some foreign guests.

Gujarat government was allotted 15,000 hectares of land for setting up SEZs, the highest in the country, Modi said.

Modi, who visited China in November 2006 to study the concept of SEZ, said the trip immensely benefited his state.

"Since China is the pioneer in the development of SEZ, I wanted to get first-hand knowledge," said Modi, a special WEF invitee.

When Gujarat government held the 'Vibrant Gujarat Summit' in January this year, Modi said he used his knowledge about Chinese SEZs to convince the attendees about the benefits of having SEZs in the state. "My study tour of China benefited me a lot as I was able to effectively convey the message and the benefits of SEZs to the businesses and the people."

Gujarat, he said, has earned the distinction of becoming the most investor-friendly state.

He said during his interactions with foreign businessmen, they talked about the 21st century led by India. "Some say, Asia will lead, few say China and India will lead and some others say India will lead," Modi said, stressing that the basic strength of India are democracy and the judicial system.

Asked about the investment climate, Modi said that now no body is asking 'what to do?' "What to do is already deleted and how to do and when to do are the questions now being asked."

Modi has been invited to speak on two WEF sessions, 'Perspectives on Entrepreneurship - Why Culture Matters' and 'Growth Hotspots- Focus on India,' both not open to the media.

"I have come here to promote the interests of India, with special reference to Gujarat. India has contributed a lot to the world for centuries. Even during this new era of turmoil, if any country has the capability to contribute to the world, it is India," the senior BJP leader said.

He said that during the sessions, he would highlight the issue of global warming and global terrorism.

"When we speak of globalization, we should not forget two points: global warming and global terrorism," he said, noting that the speed of global warming and global terrorism is getting faster amid globalization.

What will happen to the world society? The overall human cost of globalization should also be considered, he said, adding it has become the government's responsibility to ensure conflict-resolution.

One has to think about how to evolve a global culture, how to change the mind-set, Modi said, adding this type of forums and discussions (like WEF) can create a path or way to reach that goal.

Modi is accompanied by a 25-strong delegation, which includes senior state government officials, top business leaders like Chairman of Essar Group Shashi Ruia and Chairman of Adani Group, Gautam Adani and others.

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