New Delhi — Foreign companies in India have welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory for the political stability it brings, but now they need to see him soften a protectionist stance adopted in the past year. Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors, with US firms such as Amazon, Walmart and Mastercard committing billions of dollars in investments and ramping up hiring. India is also the biggest market by users for firms such as Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp. But from about 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervour ahead of elections. “I hope he’s now back to wooing businesses,” said Prasanto Roy, a technology policy analyst based in New Delhi, who advises global tech firms. “Global firms remain deeply concerned about the lack of policy stability or predi...

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