‘Make in India’ very material to GE: CEO Jeff Immelt

New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) American infrastructure giant General Electric’s (GE) chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt on Monday said the government’s Make in India campaign is very material to a company whose presence in the country dates back to over a century.

“We want to ramp up our facilities to be in line with PM (Modi’s Make in India direction. The programme will be very material to GE,” he told reporters here after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“GE is interested in commercial and military aviation, renewables, oil, gas and sees big opportunity in making in India,” he said.

Immelt, who has been coming to India for the last 30 years, said the speed of change meant that investors have to be quick to seize the opportunities.

“I see biggest opportunity for GE in India, that I have seen in quite a long time. We see 4-5 big projects for GE that could change the face of the company.. in railway modernisation, in healthcare, power generation and military aviation,” he said.

GE, which set up India’s first hydropower plant in Karnataka in 1902 and the Tarapore nuclear plant in 1969, has doubled its investment in India and delivered approximately $3 billion in economic value, the company said prior to Immelt’s India visit.

To highlight his point of India changing, Immelt cited India’s railway infrastructure modernisation programme, tenders for which opened earlier this month.

“GE has tried multiple times earlier for this project. It is only now that it has come to fruition. The railway project is very important symbolically and as a project,” he said.

“Railway modernisation will harken in a new wave of GE investment in India.”

GE has doubled its investment in India over the last five years. The company said as part of its Make in India initiative, it has increased the levels of local sourcing by 20 percent for locomotives, 30 percent for power equipment and 15 percent for aviation.

“If you are a financial investor looking to make a fast buck, then India may not be the place.

“If you are a long-term investor in India, then you will be optimistic. GE is the world’s biggest infrastructure company and India is a core market where we sell and make things,” Immelt said to underline his point about manufacturing in India.

The US firm this year announced a $200 million investment in the multi-modal manufacturing facility in Pune to cater to renewables, oil and gas, aviation, transportation and power sectors. It aims to export 25 percent of its products by the end of this year.

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