Modi government overhauling sister-city partnerships to attract foreign investment

The Modi government, with an eye on attracting foreign investment, is overhauling the sister-city arrangement that Indian cities have to add more teeth to the initiative and leverage partnerships for economic gains.

India has over 100 sister-city partnerships that have developed over the decades and remained largely ornamental, except for helping to foster closer cultural bonds. The BJP-led government, which has put the economy at the top of its foreign policy endeavours, hopes to transform these arrangements into tools for attracting investment, officials well-versed with the initiative told ET.

“What hitherto remained an arrangement for cultural exchanges and peopleto-people contacts will now be leveraged for economic goals,” Gopal Baglay, joint secretary in charge of the ministry of external affairs’ newly formed states division, told ET.

“The idea is to leverage sister-cities and sister-state partnerships and arrangements to bring investments, ideas for urbanisation and also find markets for products and businesses of respective cities and states. It is a work in progress and the effort is to provide a platform so that Indian states and cities can leverage twining arrangements for optimum benefits.”

The states division in the ministry is at the forefront of forming ideas and implementing the sister-city and sister-province arrangements. Over the past year, new sister-city arrangements have been launched with China, Japan and Nepal. When Prime MinisterNarendra Modi visited China last May, agreements were signed for three sister-city partnerships: ChennaiChongqing, Hyderabad-Qingdao and Aurangabad-Dunhuang.

It was also decided to establish state-level ties between Karnataka and the Chinese province of Sichuan. India also launched its maiden state leader’s forum with China. Such a forum will be formed with countries in Europe and Asia in the near future in the second stage of the initiative. Last year, Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi entered into a sister-city cooperation agreement with the Japanese city of Kyoto with the aim of upgrading facilities of this major pilgrimage town.

Japan is actively involved in an industrial partnership with the town of Neemrana in Rajasthan. Recently, Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel led a business delegation to China to strengthen state-level partnerships.

Punjab is contemplating closer business ties with Chinese provinces. To boost the economy in the landlocked northeast, the plan is to pair cities in those states with cities inMyanmar. Officials described this state-level partnership in the spirit of cooperative federalism.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India last September, an agreement was signed to establish a sister-city relationship between Ahmedabad and Guangzhou. Gujarat and Guangdong became sister-provinces. In October 2013, three metros of India found sister-cities in China.

The pairs were Delhi-Beijing, Bengaluru-Chengdu and Kolkata-Kunming. Officials pointed out that China has mastered the sistercity and sister-province initiatives and leveraged it to the optimum for economic benefit. It’s learnt that China has over 2,000 sister-city arrangements with several countries.

Source: Economic Times


One Response to “Modi government overhauling sister-city partnerships to attract foreign investment”

  1. Jeff Mazzini Says:

    Reblogged this on AAMC Training's Blog.

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