India's Modi pledges 'predictable, competitive' tax regime

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (second from left) and US President Barack Obama (second from right) participate in the India-US Business Summit in New Delhi on Jan 26, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (second from left) and US President Barack Obama (second from right) participate in the India-US Business Summit in New Delhi on Jan 26, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised US executives Monday that he would forge a "predictable and competitive" tax regime as he sought to shake off his country's reputation as hostile to business.

Speaking alongside US President Barack Obama at a meeting of American and Indian CEOs, the right-wing premier said the business climate had already dramatically changed since he came to power and the transformation would step up pace.

"You will find an environment that is not only open but welcoming, we will guide you and work with you on your projects," said Mr Modi whose election win last May was largely founded on a pledge to overhaul India's economy.

"You will find a climate that encourages investment and involves enterprise," added the prime minister.

"You will find a tax regime that is predictable and competitive."

Under the previous left-leaning Congress government, many foreign businesses complained about levels of bureaucracy, corruption and an arbitrary and aggressive taxation.

Mr Modi acknowledged that the tax rules had been too harsh and that he planned to lessen the burden.

"We have removed some of the excesses of the past. We will soon address the remaining uncertainties," said the prime minister, who also promised to address concerns about intellectual property.

"It (the new business climate) will nurture innovation and protect your intellectual property."