Indian Prime Minister arrives in Spain

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INDIAN PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday urged Spanish firms to invest in India, saying that the fast-growing country offers ‘many opportunities’ in areas ranging from tourism to energy.

‘India is an enormous country and it offers many opportunities to Spanish firms in all sectors,’ he said as he arrived at Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s official residence in Madrid for talks.

‘I invite Spanish firms to participate in our development,’ he added.

Prime Minister Modi, who arrived in Spain late on Tuesday from Germany, his first stop on a four-nation Europe tour, was scheduled to meet King Felipe VI later on Wednesday.

He was also supposed to meet Spanish business leaders as part of his push to increase foreign investment in India, the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

‘Spanish firms are global leaders in sectors that are a priority for us. We want to attract tourism, infrastructure, energy and defence firms,’ Prime Minister Modi said in an interview published in the Spanish press.

Spain is India’s seventh largest trading partner in the European Union.

Two-way trade totalled €4.72 billion in 2016, an 8.5 per cent increase over the previous year, of which Spanish exports made up nearly €1.26 billion.

The number of Spanish firms that operate in India has risen to over 230 currently from just 70 in 2008.

‘Our bilateral relations are becoming more and more intense. I hope this visit spurs deeper ties between our two countries,’ Rajoy said.

It is the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Spain since Narasimha Rao came to the country in 1992.

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