India relaxes restrictions on foreign direct investment

NEW DELHI: Indian government announced to relax foreign ownership rules to attract more foreign direct investment early this week.

The policy changes relax foreign direct investment thresholds in the retail, defense and civil-aviation sectors alongside a few others.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that “the move would provide a major impetus to job creation and infrastructure” and make India the most open economy in the world for foreign investment.

The move will be welcomed by brands like IKEA and Apple which see India as the next big market. The changes will also send a strong message to investors showing that India is very much open to international investment.

India has attracted $55bn in the year to end-March, up from $36bn two years earlier.

Among the other policy changes announced Monday, the government allowed foreign investors to own up 100% of domestic airlines, raising the limit from 49%.

Full foreign ownership of all arms-making projects will now be allowed, subject to government approval.

Foreign companies will now be able to buy up to 74 per cent of an existing Indian drugmaker without any government approval.