Modi assures ‘personal attention’ to Seoul bizmen, skips Posco again

Bhubaneswar: When prime minister Narendra Modi today addressed the India-South Korea CEOs’ Forum and promised that country’s businessmen to give ‘personal attention’ to make conditions more conducive for them to do business in India, it was expected that Modi will raise South Korean steelmaker Posco’s Rs 52,000-crore Odisha steel plant issue which had missed a place in the joint statement yesterday. But he simply chose to skip it.

Though Modi assured the CEOs in Seoul a more stable, predictable and transparent taxation system including fast-tracking of approvals in industry and infrastructure, and liberalisation of FDI, the greenfield project in Jagatsinghpur district, billed as the single-largest FDI in India, failed to find a reference in his speech.

The prime minister told 21 CEOs and other business leaders attending the meet that there was tremendous potential for cooperation in areas like water, transportation, railways, sea ports, shipbuilding, electricity including renewable, IT infrastructure and services, electronics, construction industry, all of which are “very promising” sectors in India.

“I invite you to India to see the change. We are also prepared to work with you in making conditions more conducive for you,” he declared while addressing them.

Modi showed the ‘promising interest’ when he met Korean automaker Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong Koo and spoke one-to-one for about 30 minutes. During the discussion, Modi asked Koo to invest in India. Koo too assured Modi he would consider the proposal but did not make any official commitment. “We are reviewing it,” Chung told the media after the meeting.

On the other hand, though Modi met Posco chief on the sidelines of the CEOs Forum, it is still unclear about the matter on which they deliberated upon. An official communication from the company or from the Indian government about the meeting is still awaited.

With two skips in quick succession – first from the joint statement of the two countries and now from the Forum speech, it has now become almost evident that the Posco chapter will go missing from India’s industrialisation horizon.