Karnataka CM invites global firms to invest in state

Bangalore, Sep 13 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is wooing global firms at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in China to invest in this southern state for benefitting mutually from its natural and human resources, a official said Friday.

"Siddaramaiah had series of meetings with heads of global firms at the WEF conference at Dalian in the eastern province and prevailed upon them to invest in the state for mutual benefit," the official in the chief minister's office told IANS here.

Interacting with WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab, the chief minister urged the Geneva-based non-profit foundation to conduct some of its various annual or seasonal events in Bangalore, assuring him of his government's full support in hosting them.

"In hour-long meeting with Schwab Thursday, the chief minister highlighted the state's potential to attract global investments in diverse sectors spanning manufacturing and services.

"A presentation was also made on the occasion to showcase the progress the state has made in aerospace, automobile, biotechnology and information technology (IT)," state media spokesman D.P. Muralidhar said.

The chief minister has invited Finland to be a partner country in the Global Investors' Meet (GIM), slated to be held here in January 2014, and asked its Prime Minister Jyrik Katanien to participate in the third biennial event.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told Siddaramaiah that he was willing to promote MRO (maintenance, repair and overhauling) facility in Bangalore, which is also known as the aerospace hub of India, thanks to the state presence of the state-run defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) research and development (R&D) institutes here.

US aerospace major Boeing and its European counterpart have also set up their design and development centres here, while British Rolls-Royce and Canadian Pratt and Whitney have tie-up with HAL to roll out aero engines for military and civilian use.

"Muscat has suggested to the chief minister to explore Malta as a gateway for merchandise exports from the state (Karnataka) to European and North African markets, as the island nation is strategically located in the Mediterranean Sea below Sicily in Italy," Muralidhar said.

Both the leaders also agreed to promote the ICT sector in Malta. Muscat accepted Siddaramaiah's invitation to participate in the upcoming GIM event here.

The eight-member official delegation, accompanying the chief minister, held a road show at Dalian to highlight investment opportunities in diverse verticals such as IT, biotech, aerospace, manufacturing, food-processing and tourism in the state.

About 150 investors and entrepreneurs evinced interest in exploring Karnataka.

Israeli chief scientist and R&D director Avi Hasson expressed interest in setting up an R&D hub in Bangalore in partnership with the state-run institution in science and technology. The chief minister invited Israel also to participate in the GIM 2014 meet as another partner country with the state.

Siddaramaiah, who is on a first overseas trip after assuming office in May, also held separate meeting with Spanish diversified group Acciona Sa executive CarmenBecerril, who evinced interest to invest in waste water treatment, rooftop solar projects and wind energy projects that have not been tapped fully.

Among others who called on the chief minister were South East Asian multinational Qi group chairman Vijay Easwaran, Chinese construction major Haohe Engineering Ltd chief executive Kenneth Zhang Yixiao and the US-based Cargrill group's platform leader Stan Ryan and its India head Siraj Choudhary.

In a related development, the accompanying official and business delegations visited the Ascendas IT park in the port city where Indian IT bellwether Infosys' China subsidiary operates.

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