Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited investors on Tuesday to fund new large-scale ports, island projects, and transport hubs as part of India’s major trade corridor linking the Middle East and Europe.
Plans for the corridor were outlined by leaders of the US, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in September.
“Recently, a historic step was taken upon India’s initiative which has the potential to transform the maritime industry around the world in the 21st century,“ Modi said while inaugurating the third edition of Global Maritime India Summit 2023 in Mumbai via video conferencing.
“A historic consensus was reached on the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) at the G20 Summit. Hundreds of years ago, the Silk Route gave impetus to global trade; this route became the basis for the development of many countries of the world. Now this historical corridor will also change the picture of regional and global trade,” Modi said.
The prime minister said next-generation mega ports, international container transshipment ports, island development, inland waterways, and multi-modal hubs will be undertaken under this project, leading to a reduction in business costs and environmental degradation. It will improve logistical efficiency and create jobs, he added.
Modi also unveiled ‘Amrit Kaal Vision 2047’, a blueprint for the Indian maritime blue economy, and invited investors to become part of the campaign.
The blueprint outlines strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing port facilities, promoting sustainable practices, and facilitating international collaboration.
The prime minister also unveiled and laid the foundation stone for projects worth more than ₹23,000 crore ($2.75 billion) that are aligned with the ‘Amrit Kaal Vision 2047’ for the Indian maritime blue economy. He highlighted significant progress in India’s major ports, doubling their capacity over the past decade and reducing turnaround times for large vessels.
He also mentioned the construction of new roads to increase port connectivity and touched upon the SagarMala Project to strengthen the coastal infrastructure. These efforts, he said, are increasing employment opportunities and ease of living.
Highlighting the government’s focus on the shipbuilding and repair sector, Modi said. “India is going to become one of the top five shipbuilding nations in the coming decade. Our mantra is ‘Make in India – Make for the world’.” INS Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, is proof of India’s capacity, he added.
The nearly 5,000-year-old Lothal Dockyard in Harappa, which is a world heritage site, buttresses India’s position as the ‘Cradle of Shipping’, the prime minister noted.
He shared that a National Maritime Heritage Complex is also being built in Lothal near Mumbai to preserve this world heritage and urged the citizens to visit upon completion.
He revealed that the government is working to bring together all stakeholders in the sector through maritime clusters, to develop shipbuilding and repair centers across places. He also informed about the effort to make the major ports in India carbon-neutral via a net-zero strategy for the sector.
“We are moving towards a future where the Blue Economy will be the medium to create a Green Planet,” he added.
The prime minister also asserted that India has vast opportunities for maritime tourism, considering the country’s vast coastline, strong riverine ecosystem, and rich cultural heritage.
Modi highlighted the vast opportunities for maritime tourism in India, with its extensive coastline, strong riverine ecosystem, and rich cultural heritage.
He also detailed the development of international cruise terminals and modern cruise facilities in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, and Chennai, marking India’s journey towards becoming a global cruise hub with state-of-the-art infrastructure.