India an emerging democratic superpower: Abbott

India an emerging democratic superpower AbbottMUMBAI: Describing India as an “emerging democratic superpower”, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today said he looks forward to making the most of the abundant opportunities for business in the country.

Kicking off his two-day India visit from the commercial capital, Abbott said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call “come, make in India” was “close in spirit and in intent” to the phrase he had used in respect of Australia that “we are open for business”.

“…..this is a country which has amazed the world over the last few decades with its growth and its development – the world’s second most populous country; on purchasing power terms, the world’s third largest economy, clearly, the emerging democratic superpower of the world and a country with which Australia has long and warm ties.

“The purpose of this trip, as far as I am concerned, is to acknowledge the importance of India in the wider world, acknowledge the importance of India to Australia’s future, to let the government and the people of India know what Australia has to offer India and the wider world for our part, and to build on those stronger foundations,” he said addressing a 30-member business delegation accompanying him on the trip at Hotel Taj Palace.

Noting how India has changed “enormously” since his last visit 33 years ago as a backpacker, Abbott, who has expressed keenness to sign a nuclear deal with the country, said, “I can remember on my first day in Mumbai watching a bullock cart take material to a nuclear power station.

“Well, 33 years on, there aren’t that many bullock carts left in urban India, and the power stations – the nuclear power stations – are more sophisticated than ever,” he said.

Abbott, who had visited Taj Hotel, India’s icon of hospitality, during his 3-month trip in 1981, and had lunch there, described it as one of the truly magnificent hotels in the world.

“Back in 1981 I spent three months as a backpacker roaming around India – this mysterious, fascinating, enthralling sub-continent, this world in one country – and I spent a lot of time in third-class compartments of railway carriages, I’d spent a lot of time in two rupee a night hotels and I thought, I’m going to have to treat myself.

“So, I came here to the Taj Hotel and I had the best lunch this hotel could provide and I’m sure that the breakfast we’re about to enjoy will be no less splendid than the lunch I had here 33 years ago,” he told the delegates, fondly reminiscing about his visit.

Abbott said though there is no dearth of opportunities elsewhere in the vicinity of Australia, there is “an abundance of opportunities” in India.

“I am determined to make the most of them, I know all of you are determined to make the most of them and I look forward to working very closely with you and with our Indian interlocutors over the next two days,” he told the delegation.–PTI

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