Narendra Modi has his eyes set on boosting business: Joao Cravinho, EU Ambassador

While the democratic superpower in the world is maintaining armed strength from Narendra Modi (later Minister of Gujarat in 2012-13), Europe led by a European Union delegation in India quietly engaged with BJP leadership nearly two years before the Lok Sabha election. In fact, Ambassador Đại Joao Cravinho, the head of the EU delegation, led the Ambassadors of European countries to a quiet lunch with Modi last year. And in the course of taking the polls, he even traveled all over India to understand the possible outcomes and interact with all the players across the political spheres, which the particulars Foreign envoys rarely do. In an interview with ET, Ambassador Cravinho described the new Prime Minister of India as a clear-minded person who has a clear vision of India and governance. The Ambassador feels that EU member states have the potential to advance Modi’s economic diplomacy and help strengthen India’s economic health.

How do you see this victory of Narendra Modi and BJP? And how will it impact the Indian economy?

We want India to do well. This election ensured that there was political stability for the next five years. An assertive leadership will mean decisions are more difficult and good governance is not possible without tough decisions. The BJP-led NDA has a clear mandate to make bold and innovative decisions. International politics is not a zero-sum game and while India will engage economically with other powers, the EU has the potential to drive growth in India. The EU is already the single largest trading partner of a bloc and the single largest source of FDI for India as a bloc. We are ready to meet India’s needs in the field of technology and funds.

You interacted with Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. How would you rate him as a leader of modern India?

As the former Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister of Portugal, I have been in contact with many different leaders around the world and I can say that Mr. Modi is one of the best. He has a clear ideology and a clear vision on governance and that is what India requires. He also understands very well the challenges facing the country. He is a good listener and talker and can engage in rich discussions. No Prime Minister wants to have community conflict on his record, and I’m sure he won’t let there be any community tension in India. His priority was to boost the economy and he had his eye on that.

Workplace India-EU Relations go from here? What are the priority areas of India-EU and the future of Free Trade Agreement it is being negotiated for many years now?

Negotiators from India and the European Union are working to conclude the FTA. The proposed deal would lead to more openness. In the past, the EU has held discussions with the BJP on an FTA. We consider Mr. Modi’s speech on economic issues on 27 February as a positive. I have no doubt that the FTA will benefit India. We hope that there will be progress in the FTA before the next India-EU Summit in Brussels.


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