Amid the shrill Indian television debates, the facts speak for themselves – India today is a much better place from what it was four years ago, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa.

Most people I know find it difficult to form any opinion based on Indian news channels. Switch on any TV channel in any language and you will be bombarded with shrill outbursts of often ill-tempered name calling from every shade of the country’s political and intellectual spectrum.

Every channel claims to be the purveyor of “correct” news, accusing, by implication, its rivals of disseminating fake or politically slanted broadcasts.

The flavour of this election season, which will extend to the Lok Sabha elections in May next year, is the performance (or non-performance) of the Modi government.

Since a majority of India’s vocal public intellectuals back the Congress – returning the favour for decades of official patronage – most English channels lean towards the opinion that the Modi government has failed to deliver on its election promises. Two very popular channels do air more balanced views, but in the media world, they are more the outliers than the norm.

Hype vs truth

Lost in this battle of hype and high decibels is the truth. Judged dispassionately, how would the four-year-old Modi government’s record stack up?

Let us rewind to May 2014 when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stormed to power. India then was in danger of losing its place in the BRICS, the five emerging nations that experts say will dominate the global economy this century, and was being counted among another less flattering bloc, the Fragile Five, countries whose economies were expected to collapse any time.

India had experienced two years of sub-5 per cent GDP growth, the rupee , just recovering from a near 30 per cent free-fall, was still very delicately poised and the country’s fiscal and current account deficits were out of control.

Even his worst critic will admit that Modi took the reins of the country at a very difficult time. And by all accounts, he has done an exceptional job in steering the Indian ship over the last 48 months.

Full disclosure: I am a great fan of Modi and his government but long-time readers will know that I do not let my personal preferences cloud my journalistic judgement. So, I will stick to verifiable, publicly available facts, figures and statements to justify my conclusion.

Facts & figures

When was the last time you heard anyone say or write that India was on the verge of an economic collapse? Definitely not in the last four years. Instead, you only hear gushing reviews from the World Bank, the IMF, international ratings agencies and the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

From being part of the Fragile Five to being the toast of the global financial community is a huge leap in the right direction, you will admit.

The IMF has, as recently as this week, projected India to be the fastest growing major economy in 2018 in its Asia and Pacific Regional Economic Outlook Report. Its Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, had earlier called India the only bright spot in the global economic landscape.

The naysayers in the Indian media will say these are only the impressions of one individual. Fine, so here are some figures: IMF expects India to grow at 7.4 per cent this year and 7.8 per cent in 2019. I personally expect India to get closer to the 8 per cent annual growth threshold this year and cross it the next, but that’s only my opinion and since I’ve promised to stick to verifiable information, I will not press my point.

But let me draw your attention to what the Reserve Bank of India has said. In its first Monetary Policy Statement for 2018-19, the Monetary Policy Committee said it expects GDP growth rate to rise to 7.4 per cent in 2018-19, the same as the IMF projection.

It also expects the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures retail inflation, to be in the 4.7-5.1 per cent range in the first half of the new financial year and 4.4 per cent in the second half.

Here’s more proof the Indian economy is turning around fast.

"Our research has shown that major macro parameters like manufacturing, capital goods production, non-food credit and consumption are showing signs of recovery," India Ratings chief economist Devendra Pant has said.

Then, demand for oil products grew a robust 8.5 per cent in the first quarter of the current calendar year, as the government’s focus on creating infrastructure and soaring sales of automobiles pushed oil consumption. On a standalone basis, the demand for petrol and diesel jumped 15 per cent in the January-March 2018 quarter.

"India's oil products demand has continued on a positive upswing since September on improving economic activity," S&P Global Platts Analytics has said.

Sector-wise breakdown

Not only that. The eight core sectors – cement, steel, electricity, coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products and fertilisers – expanded 5.3 per cent in February, compared to 0.6 per cent in February last year. This surge was led mainly by the good performance of the refinery, fertiliser and cement industries.

The cement sector grew at a steroid-charged 22.9 per cent, signifying a pick-up in construction and real estate sectors across the country. This is significant as these sectors have forward and backward linkages with more than 250 upstream and downstream industries and a rebound in construction activity has a multiplier effect on the entire economy.

The refinery sector also grew at a robust 7.8 per cent in February, against a decline of 2.8 per cent in February 2017. A rise in demand for petroleum products, especially diesel, augurs well for the economy as it indicates an increase in transportation activity, critical to keeping the wheels of the economy moving.

Fertiliser output also increased 5.3 per cent during the month under review, indicating that the much reported distress in the farming sector may be easing.

Electricity generation also grew at a healthy 4 per cent against 1.2 per cent in the year ago period. This could be due to a rise in factory activity as well as increased demand from first-time consumers who have got connections under the Narendra Modi government’s Saubhagya Scheme, which has promised to provide power to every household in India by the end of the year.

Little wonder then that capacity utilisation in industry has risen from a low of 55-60 per cent to more than 70 per cent in many industries. If this trend persists for another couple of quarters, private investment, which has been tepid over the last six-seven years, will begin to kick in, setting off a fresh virtuous cycle of growth, jobs and prosperity.

The latest figures released on Friday do indicate a lower month-on-month growth rate but that, I feel, is part of the regular ebb and flow of any dynamic economy that should not draw our attention away from the general trend, which is pointing north.

Job creation

There is good news on the jobs front as well. After trenchant criticism from several quarters over the alleged jobless growth in the Indian economy, the employment sub-index of the Nikkei India Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for March 2018 touched its highest level of 52.8 since June 2011, i.e. the best performance in terms of employment creation in almost seven years.

Any figure above 50 indicates expansion an any figure below 50 points to a contraction in job creation. The employment sub-index, which started moving up in September 2017, peaked in March. Further, the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the resulting formalisation of the grey economy will lead to the creation of several million new jobs. The precise impact of this development is being closely watched and it will be premature at this stage to draw any conclusions on its impact.

Politically contentious and painful-in-the-short-term reforms such as demonetisation, GST and a forward-looking Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), all of which have been heavily criticised by the shrill “experts” on the numerous TV panel shows.

On the socio-economic front, Modi’s flagship scheme to provide free gas connections to poor households has made life easier for 30 million families that used firewood as cooking fuel earlier. Consider this: every year, 100,000 people died in India from inhaling firewood smoke in kitchens. It is still too premature to estimate how this figure will change but I am willing to bet my last pound that the figure will show a sharp reduction in future surveys.

Let me add a caveat here: I am not suggesting for a moment that the Indian government has solved all of the country’s problems. Several tasks remain works in progress. Some others are yet to be undertaken.

But if you can rise above the din, you will notice what many of my friends in India’s media and intellectual circles knowingly gloss over – the India of today is a much better place than it was just four years ago.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

There are several signs that India's economy is undergoing a sustainable turnaround that promises to take it to a higher growth trajectory. But there are significant risks, including the possibility of a fickle Monsoon that cannot be wished away.

The rain gods, Indian policy-makers, industrialists and human resource managers seem to be coming together on the same page. The green shoots of growth in India's economy seem to be pointing towards a sustained recovery after several false dawns and red herrings over the last four years.

As a whistleblower in the UK named India’s Opposition party among the clients of a controversial consultancy, the issue of cyber security has taken centre stage in the country.

A former employee of Cambridge Analytica, the UK-based firm at the heart of a global row over data security, has claimed that the company worked extensively in India in his evidence before a UK parliamentary committee investigating the issue of fake news. Christopher Wylie deposed before the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) in London last month, amid an escalating row around alleged Facebook data breaches linked with the controversial firm, which has also been linked with alleged attempts to influence elections in India.

Steve Morgan is Founder and Editor-In-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures, one of the world’s leading researchers and publishers covering the global cyber economy as well as a data bank for cyber security facts, figures, and statistics. In this interview with ‘India Global Business’, he presents an analysis of what the latest cyber crime involving global media giants means for the world of data.

Does the data breach scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica open up a new frontier for the cyber security landscape?

The recent Facebook privacy breach and Cambridge Analytica's involvement is hardly groundbreaking news for cyber security experts in the know. Consumer and corporate data has been pilfered from social media properties for the past decade. But now, with heightened media attention on personal and data privacy, the general public is waking up to the reality of these cyber threats.

GST and demonetisation have helped Digital India bolster its cyber security landscape.

In India, cyber security has come a long way in the past few years and has gained huge importance with the government’s thrust on Digital India, e-commerce and mobile payments. Particularly the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation, which further drove organisations to adopt digitalization, has played a key role in changing the perception towards cyber security.

India Inc. technology expert delves into why it is time for policy-makers to address issues around data security.

Over the last few weeks, the sinister side of technology has come to the fore. Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have collected the data of up to 87 million Facebook users worldwide, the majority of which were in the US.

While this data is said to have been used to target and influence voters in the US presidential election and in the Brexit referendum in the UK, it is also thought, according to reports, that Cambridge Analytica’s parent firm had offered services to Indian political parties for the 2014 elections to carry out caste research, behavioural polling, and target audience analysis, amongst several projects.

Given the ambivalence of some ASEAN countries to China’s rise and Beijing’s hardnosed strategy of using its financial heft to buy influence across Asia, it is important for democracies like India and Japan to foster cooperation with Vietnam.

It is not very often that New Delhi hosts the Prime Minister and the President of the same country within a span of five weeks. But that’s exactly what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did, inviting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as one of 10 chief guests – all heads of ASEAN governments – for the Republic Day parade on January 26 and then playing host to that country’s President, Tran Dai Quang, in the first week of March.

India has finally woken up to tap the immense potential of its far-flung Northeast states but it would take time before it becomes the darling of foreign investors.

Ask any average citizen on the road in mainland India the names and capital cities of the eight Northeastern states of the country and there is a high likelihood they would fumble and embarrass themselves. A popular joke in the northern parts of the country is that only an aspirant of the IAS or PCS — two main forms of civil services in the country – would know the answer to such a basic question as this.

Our strategic expert offers an overview of India’s participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on April 19-20.

India’s new political interest in the Commonwealth is evident by the participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London on 19-20 April 2018, marking the first Indian prime ministerial presence in a Commonwealth Summit after nearly a decade. This is expected to lead to a larger, and possibly leadership, role in the Commonwealth for India in both multilateral and bilateral terms.

Professor Kunal Sen is the Joint Research Director, Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) Research Centre, at the University of Manchester. He is at the forefront of research into inclusive economic development, principally focusing on India but also on East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In this interview, the economist tells ‘India Global Business’ why he chose to focus his research on India’s economic growth story.

What made you choose to study India’s economy?

My research, which I have been working on for probably the last 15-20 years, has essentially been about understanding India’s economic growth. I have observed how India has transformed itself from a very slow-growing to a very fast-growing economy – the most recent estimates suggest that India is the fastest-growing large economy in the world. As an economist, I have been trying to understand this, particularly the political economic issues. I think that I have been able to explain in my work why this has been the case – why India, which had been doing pretty badly in terms of economic development, managed to do much better in the 1990s.

The Founder of Loomba Foundation explains why he is championing gender parity across all sectors around the Press for Progress theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.

The recent World Economic Forum’s 2017 ‘Global Gender Gap’ report has exposed shocking results stating that gender parity is over 200 years away. There has never been a more important time to take this issue up and keep motivated for #PressforProgress. And while we know that gender parity won't happen overnight, one could remain optimistic about the growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.

A new multi-year collaboration between a UK-based genomics data platform and an American genetics company is set to create the world’s largest project of its kind to study Indian populations.

Global Gene Corp believes its tie-up with US-headquartered Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of New York based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, is aimed at finding innovative diagnosis and therapies for rare diseases.

From Japanese to American companies, the Indian technology and automotive sectors attracted FDI in recent weeks.

SoftBank, Alibaba to invest in Paytm

Tokto-headquartered SoftBank Group is investing $400 million in India’s Paytm E-Commerce Pvt Ltd in a funding round that will value the online retailer at roughly $1.9 billion, a regulatory filing showed this week.

Chinese conglomerate Alibaba, an existing investor in Paytm E-Commerce, is also putting in $45 million in the round.

SoftBank, which is among major investors in India’s fast-growing e-commerce sector and already owns a stake in Paytm’s parent, confirmed investing in Paytm Mall, the brand name under which Paytm E-Commerce operates an online market place.

India and the UK are increasingly aligned on the Commonwealth’s potential to provide an impetus to trade and investment, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King famously said: “Create your legacy, then pass on the baton”. As the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) draws closer, there is anticipation that an initiative taken to bring trade and investment to the forefront of the grouping’s concerns may, in the years to come, see the emergence of the nearly century-old multilateral organisation as a major global trading bloc.

At the April summit in London, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will become the first Indian head of government to attend a CHOGM after a gap of many years. This is in keeping with his commitment to step up India’s engagement with the rest of the world by building on existing ties.

The timing is perfect. US President Donald Trump has just launched the first salvo in what could unfold into a full-fledged global trade war. Across the world, China, Trump’s intended target, is considering where and when it wants to retaliate. And in between, sober nations and analysts are blinking in disbelief as economic logic takes a back seat and an international tariff war threatens to hit the prosperity of every country in the world.

In one of 2017 editions of ‘India Global Business’, we carried a cover package titled Reimagining the Commonwealth where we had tried to visualise this organisation, which had, till very recently, been reduced to a nostalgic club of ex-colonies of the British Empire, as a modern trade-focused group relevant to the needs of its members in the 21st century. The tremendous response to that issue, especially from top decision-makers and policy framers in the UK, India and elsewhere convinced me that this was the way for the Commonwealth to go.

The imperative has become much more urgent now. And as the long-serving Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, prepares to hand over the leadership baton of her symbolic yet influential position to a successor – most probably Prince Charles, though this is by no means certain – all eyes will be fixed on how Modi and a few other influential countries react.

If the Prince of Wales can transition with a clear articulation of the future (and I have no doubt that he can), it will go a long way in answering the critics. Alongside, another passing of the baton, from an old order wedded to the old Commonwealth to a new leadership championing the transition, could also be unfolding.

As the second-largest and fastest growing economy within the Commonwealth, India’s influence and prestige has soared over the last few years and many smaller nations are expected to take their cue from New Delhi.

Fortunately, India and the UK are increasingly aligned on the future of the Commonwealth. Post-Brexit UK and fast globalising India both realise the dangers posed to the world by the short-sighted opposition to freer trade – the secret sauce that gave the Western world its greatest period of prosperity after the Second World War.

The UK and Indian governments have to act in concert to avert this, but it is imperative that they engage and align with other members of the Commonwealth, most notably Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, and Nigeria who are all significant economies.

In this context, I am pleased that India has mooted the idea of a Commonwealth Trade & Investment Centre to be located in India – to drive a new agenda for freer and fairer trade globally.

To succeed, this centre must be given adequate funds and other resources, including access to the very best talent from across the Commonwealth, and ensure that its birth is not bogged down in stuffy bureaucratic processes, which have regrettably come to typify some of the approaches and institutions of the organisation. Its business and their networks must be given leading roles.

But most importantly, the Commonwealth must be able to set for itself a forward-looking agenda that every member state feels is relevant to its own needs and that serves to enhance the collective prosperity and influence of the group. With Prince Charles representing continuity, cohesion, and stability, and Modi vision and aspiration, we could have the makings of a new Team Commonwealth.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

The logic is impeccable: with trade wars looming and the US withdrawal from its role as a net provider of global security threatening to cede ground to China, there is room for the Commonwealth to step into the breech as a stabilising factor. But can 53 countries put aside their individual interests for the greatest common good?

It is an idea whose time may have come, but are all the main players really as keen as those moving the grand idea? The 53-member Commonwealth is, arguably, the oldest multilateral body in the world, having survived decolonisation, coups, the suspension of some members and the rank disinterest of some others.

A leading anti-Brexit voice within the UK political establishment calls for a democratic exit from the EU to firm up closer ties with the Commonwealth.

Some Brexiteers have promoted the Commonwealth as an alternative to membership of the European Union (EU). In truth, the European Union and the Commonwealth are each stronger with Britain playing a leading role in both. And Britain is stronger too. The most effective way to exercise global influence is to remain a member of the largest, borderless single market in the world, with a leading role in its political institutions. As a member of the European Union, we have been able to work with our friends in Europe to bring Commonwealth nations into free trade deals for many years, not least through the African, Caribbean and Pacific Partnership.

Lord Jonathan Marland is the Chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), which is charged with promoting greater trade and investment between Commonwealth countries. In this interview with ‘India Global Business’, he sets the scene for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April and the scope for India to take the lead.

Has the Commonwealth failed to live up to its potential?

It is to the incredible credit to the Queen and the royal family that it still exists because without them it wouldn’t. People have danced around the edges of it for too long and I think several significant things have happened recently.

The chief of a Commonwealth parliamentary body delves into what the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has in store.

Towards a Common Future is the theme for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this year. With 60 per cent of the Commonwealth population below the age of 30, it is no surprise that theme is focussed on the future.

The chief of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) explains why CHOGM 2018 is the perfect timing for a renewed UK-India visa agreement.

At the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) we have always supported a stronger relationship between India and the UK, built on our strong Commonwealth ties. As Britons and Indians alike know, the UK and India’s long-standing relationship is about more than just history. This is a relationship of vibrant cultural exchange; business links built on high-tech industry and trade, and shared democratic values. In fact, India is Britain’s fourth-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) and the UK is India’s third. India continues to enrich the UK’s cultural and business environment in more ways than you could count.

The bilateral relationship between India and UK must not get bogged down by Britain’s impending exit negotiations with the European Union (EU).

As the UK navigates Brexit, Indian investors are entitled to feel a bit confused. Some confusion is inevitable when business’ need for certainty comes up against an international negotiation in which it seems “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. At the same time, while the detail of Britain’s new relationship with the EU is crucially important, we must also look beyond Brexit at the fundamentals for the UK and India.

Not tapping into the British Indian diaspora, which serves both India and the UK so well, is a missed opportunity.

We often hear of the rich contribution made to the UK by the Indian diaspora, and of the long-standing special relationship between the two countries that has spanned centuries. According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Asian businesses generate around 10 per cent of the UK’s GDP, whilst Asians only constitute 6 per cent of the population. Furthermore, these businesses are very much the backbone of UK enterprise with over 11 per cent of start-ups coming from the Asian community. The UK was very important for India in the early decades after independence in 1947, and trade with the UK accounted for about one-third of all Indian merchandise exports and imports. However, today, trade between the UK and India stands at a stubbornly underwhelming £5 billion per annum, barely making the UK’s top 20 trading partners. Two-thirds of this is exports from India to the UK and the remainder is exports from the UK to India.

Our Indian industry expert zeroes in on some stand-out start-up success stories within the India-UK landscape.

Ever since India adopted the liberalisation policy and more so in the recent years, it has been an attractive destination for foreign companies to open shops.

Fuelled by China’s seemingly infinite thirst for resources, Africa’s economy grew at a robust pace last decade. With China slowing down, Africa needs a new partner. Will the Commonwealth fill that gap?

When 19th century American explorer and journalist Henry Morton first used the term dark continent for Africa, he perhaps never thought it would stick with the continent perennially like a shadow. Used initially by European historians, economists, explorers and sociologists alike for their sheer lack of knowledge of the huge land mass, it has become symbolic of the inherent backwardness of the region. Beset with under-development, poverty, stagnation and corruption, Africa is by some distance the poorest continent on the planet — 21 of the poorest 25 countries in the world belong to the continent.

India and France have several common strategic objectives and very few, if any, disagreements on major global issues. India also needs powerful friends to prevent its creeping encirclement in its backyard and France needs a reliable ally in the Indo-Pacific, where it has many economic and strategic interests. IGB takes a 360-degree look at this very important but low-profile relationship.

Strange things are happening in India’s neighbourhood and in the wider Indo-Pacific theatre.

Sectors of interest for French companies spanned across nuclear to smart city planning.

France, India to pursue nuke power project

French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Electricite de France SA (EDF) and India’s monopoly atomic energy producer, Nuclear Power Corp., to accelerate discussions on a contract and start work at the site in Jaitapur, Maharashtra by December.

An interview with Nandita Parshad, Managing Director, Energy and Natural Resources, at London-headquartered European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The multilateral institution, set up in 1991 to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in emerging Europe, recently approved India as its 69th member. As someone at the heart of this historic development, Parshad gives ‘India Global Business’ an insight.

What does India’s membership of EBRD signify?

It has been almost 26 years since India has been flirting with the idea of joining EBRD. What’s happened in the last five years or more is that we have started to see Indian companies coming into our region. We have been building relationships through our business development activities with a lot of Indian corporates. It has been a lot of those corporates who have been lobbying Delhi for this.

A high-level delegation of financial technology (fintech) companies from the UK recently headed out to Mumbai to explore tie-ups in a market with an expanding digital consumer base.

India is acknowledged as the fastest emerging fintech ecosystem globally. As many as 420 fintech start-ups came up in India over 2016-17, leaving behind the US at 305 new start-ups within that period.

Given the recent furore over data privacy, new Indian data protection laws should set the standards for the rest of the world, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa.

Even as Indian politicians engage in a no-holds-barred fight over security of personal data in the custody of the government and political parties, a far more serious discussion is underway – away from the arc lights – on ensuring and enhancing the security of private data in India.

The political debate is partisan and ill-tempered and analysing it here will serve little purpose. Instead, we take a closer look at the issues involved and try to arrive at the best option for India.

At a time when protectionism in the US is reducing outsourcing opportunities across the world and particularly in India, the importance of ensuring data protection and privacy is gaining importance very rapidly. Since comparative advantage ceases to exist in a truly globalised world, companies are left with only their intellectual property as an advantage over their competitors.

And it is here that many large US and European companies have genuine concerns about the quality of data security and levels of privacy protection in India compared to the level of protection afforded by the UK’s Data Protection Act, for example. According to a Forrester Research Survey of 2013, 64 per cent of 99 large companies said they did not outsource really sensitive work across national borders out of privacy and data protection concerns.

And this, in turn, means a lost opportunity worth potentially hundreds of billions of dollars for banking, insurance and healthcare companies in the West and outsourced service providers in India.

Privacy has been a buzz word in India ever since the Narendra Modi government decided to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for access to a host of government services. Aadhaar is a unique identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic details, somewhat akin to the US social security number.

With billions of bits of individual data points being shared with government and other agencies, it follows that laws must be put in place to govern the use of this data and protect it from misuse.

At present, data protection in India is governed by the Information Technology Amended Act (ITAA) 2008 rather than specific and comprehensive data protection legislation. The provisions of this Act are considered loosely worded and fail to define sensitive data and as such leaves too many loopholes open.

The European Union (EU) is considered to have the most comprehensive data protection laws in the world. The protection of personal data is a fundamental right in the EU under Article 8 of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The law states that in case of cross-border flow of information, an individual’s privacy and freedom should be maintained at all levels by processing such data in member states. Its Directive 95/46/EU on data protection says any individual whose data has been leaked is entitled to be paid compensation by the data controller.

The government has appointed a committee headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna to suggest ways of framing such rules. The panel is expected to present its report in May, newspaper reports suggest.  We must hope that this is not a missed opportunity.

India can claim the high moral ground by benchmarking its proposed privacy and data protection law against the EU regulation. This will give comfort to global investors in the US and the EU and encourage the outsourcing of work that has hitherto been considered too sensitive for cross-border transmission and processing.

The Indian Supreme Court, in a far-reaching judgment on August 24, 2017, has already declared privacy a fundamental right. So, any new law on data security will have to take this into account.

These two elements – the EU privacy template and the Supreme Court ruling – can form the basis of an Indian data protection regime that sets the standards globally. India must also give importance to implementation and monitoring, using cutting edge systems and highly trained personnel.

But given the Indian Prime Minister’s instinctive grasp over technology and his single-minded devotion to make India the flag-bearer of all the right things, there is hope that the law, whenever it comes, will satisfy even the most trenchant critics. That can only be good for India, its citizens, and global business.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

Reckitt Benckiser (RB), a UK-headquartered consumer goods conglomerate, delves into its journey to find common ground with Clean India.

RB is a diversified business conglomerate with operations in around 60 countries and a strong presence in almost 200 markets around the world. It has several power brands such as Dettol, Harpic and others in its portfolio spanning health, hygiene and home products. RB is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, tells ‘India Global Business’ about his determination to keep London as the top choice for Indian talent and businesses.

How would you describe your India visit in December 2017 in terms of closer partnerships struck for the city of London?

The longstanding relationship between Britain and India plays a big role in modern London, and the huge contribution of the Indian community to London's success over many decades is part of the fibre of our city. It has played a vital role in shaping the culture and economy of our capital.

The Tata Group is the best-known Indian business house in the world, but it has to address several issues to maintain its position as the gold standard of the country’s industry.

The Tata brand remains India’s most valuable and also the best-known global calling card of Indian industry. But in 2017, it fell out of the list of the world’s 100 top brands for the first time since 2007, clocking a rank of only 103. This marked a 14-position decline compared to the previous year, according to Brand Finance, a global consultancy that publishes an annual list of the world’s most valuable brands.

The recent India visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed to hit the right note for investment potential.

For two economies as culturally interlinked as India and Canada, the intensity in trade ties have always flattered to deceive. In 2017, bilateral trade between the two nations stood at $8.4 billion with India having a trade deficit of approximately $2 billion. Trade has grown since 2010, when it was just $3.21 billion, but it still does not reflect the true potential. India accounts for only 1.95 per cent of Canada's global trade.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is at a point when the country’s economic climate is just right – neither too hot, nor too cold.

In the well-known fairytale ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, a little girl enters the house of three bears, tastes three bowls of porridge and declares that she likes the one that is neither too hot, nor too cold… in other words, the one that is just right.

The Narendra Modi government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have taken major steps to bring recalcitrant promoters to book and clean up the $210-billion bad loan crisis plaguing the Indian banking system. These can address the issue for now but privatisation is not politically feasible.

The scandal over fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi flying away to an unknown destination leaving behind unpaid loans of $1.8 billion has brought the festering bad loan crisis in the Indian banking system to a boil.

As the Tata Group navigates troubled waters, Brand India must not be the ultimate loser, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa.

I have admired the Tata Group for almost as long as I can remember. I took great pride when Tata acquired marquee British brands such as Tetley, Corus (renamed Tata Steel Europe) and Jaguar Land Rover. And I celebrated when the group emerged as the UK’s largest manufacturing sector employer. It helped prove my consistent argument that Indians are “job makers, not job takers” when investing abroad.

Not only was the Tata Group riding a crest, it was also basking in the global attention bestowed on its fabled ethical management standards, including introducing an eight-hour work day at Tata Steel years before it became mandatory in much of the West and the launch of a provident fund for workers, three decades before it was mandated by law in India.

But following the sudden unceremonious sacking of Cyrus Mistry as Chairman, the public domain began to fill up with stories about alleged governance breaches and conflicts of interest at or near the top of Tata’s hierarchical pyramid. These are now matters for the Indian courts.

Tata’s growth was the easy part but culturally integrating discrete parts spread across Thailand, South Korea, the UK, the US and large parts of Africa seems to have taken their toll.

Here, I am not even getting into the issues faced by Tata Steel Europe, which is now being merged with ThyssenKrupp’s steelworks in a 50:50 joint venture. Allowances have to be made for a business decision that did not pan out as planned. It has happened to the most hallowed names in global business and will doubtless happen many times again.

In one of our articles last year, we had been critical of another iconic Indian business leader, Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, for not being able to let go of his “baby” even after formally retiring from all executive and non-executive roles.

Tragically, Ratan Tata, another equally iconic Indian business titan, has done the same. The exact sequence of events leading up to that sad denouncement is lost in a welter of accusations and counter-accusations but most accounts agree that the Tata Trusts used their special powers, vested in them around the time Tata demitted office, to oust Mistry. Such a significant decision and its manner impacting the $140-billion group ought to have been a lot more sensitive and transparent.

There are now serious allegations about the Tata Group’s investments in Air Asia India being in breach of foreign investment norms. Tata must confront these charges head on, and place in the public domain all material facts instead of taking refuge behind legalese. That’s what the world has come to expect of the Tata and any deviation from its own high behavioural benchmarks is bound to raise eyebrows.

There are also similar imputations of impropriety in the decision to keep Tata Motors’ Nano production line in operation despite mounting losses.

As the messy legal battle meanders through the Indian courts, the merits of the case won’t matter to the public but a perception that something is not right may gain currency. Given the public’s general lack of faith these days in Indian business houses, the good name of the Tata runs a big risk of getting tarnished. That will be a sad day for Indian businesses and overseas Indians such as myself who have often used the Tata Group’s achievements as a proxy for the global successes of India.

Therefore, if there is an amicable settlement in sight, and this a big ‘if’, then both parties must for the sake of all its stakeholders, make that extra effort. That will save the group any further beating and can, arguably, help it regain some lost ground in the global brand sweepstakes.

Otherwise this epic feud, increasingly playing out like David versus Goliath, will continue to be a drag on all concerned. And, as in many past instances of such corporate battles, history may ultimately judge Cyrus Mistry better. But there are much bigger stakes for Brand India here also.Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

Baroness Usha Prashar, Deputy Chair of the British Council and an independent member of the House of Lords, presents her views on the importance of deeper UK-India cultural ties.

The United Kingdom and India are both undergoing a shake-up of old political and social certainties. The United Kingdom, one of the most prosperous countries in the world, is going through tumultuous change and uncertainty following its decision to leave the European Union. The full impact of this decision is yet to unfold. Many certainties have been shaken and the aftershocks are continuing. But there is no doubt this decision will have a profound effect on the United Kingdom’s relationship with Europe and the world.

Apex-Brasil, one of Brazil’s leading investment bodies, lays out points of attraction for Indian business to invest in Brazil.

Brazil has been a top investment destination for many years, and it still is, despite the volatility generated by the recent crisis the country went through. Since 2010, Brazil has remained among the world’s 10 main foreign direct investment (FDI) recipient countries. Last year (2017), nearly $75 billion in FDI were received by the country. This year, close to $80 billion are expected.

The Yogi Adityanath government has set its ambitions very high. But its goal of transforming Uttar Pradesh into an industrial powerhouse shows early signs of promise.

Progressing from pauper to prince is the stuff of dreams. So, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked at a recent investor summit whether Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with a population of 200 million, could compete with Maharashtra to try and become India’s first trillion-dollar state, there were polite smiles all around.

Two Indian women entrepreneurs have bagged $30,000 each as the finalists of the 2018 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards with their innovative environmentally-friendly business concepts.

One has created an environmentally-friendly sweetener and the other markets 100 per cent biodegradable sanitary napkins, and what they both have in common is that they have been short-listed for one of the world’s coveted global female entrepreneurship awards.

India’s defence budget overtook the UK for the first time in 2017 to be counted among the world’s top five.

India’s actual spend of $52.5 billion (including defence pensions) in 2017 makes it the fifth-largest in the world, overtaking the UK to reach the ‘Top 5’ slot for the first time, according to the authoritative annual ‘Military Balance 2018’ published last month by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the London-based think-tank I work for.

From consumer goods to nuclear energy, there was a wide sector coverage of India’s interests across the globe.

Japan’s Sumitomo eyes Indian JV

Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation has entered into a partnership with Gurugram-based Krishna Group to venture into the Indian real estate sector. Both corporations have formed a joint venture, Krisumi Corporation, to develop real estate projects across the country and will have a 50-50 stake in the venture.

Against the backdrop of International Women’s Day on March 8, an Indian industry expert weighs up the role of women in the workplace in order to achieve women’s economic empowerment.

According to UN Women, when more women work, economies grow. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. Even after decades of progress towards making women equal partners with men in the economy and society, the gap between them remains large.

An Indian Navy sailing team is out to make history as the first-ever voyage by an all-woman crew to circumnavigate the globe.

Six women officers from the Indian Navy have been navigating choppy ocean waters since they were flagged off by Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman from Goa in September last year. They are on a mission to make history as the first-ever voyage by an all-woman crew to circumnavigate the globe and recently departed from Port Stanley, the capital of Falkland Islands – a British Overseas Territory.

Among the best global partners the two countries will find during this transformational phase are each other.

The India-United Kingdom relationship is so old, so multi-faceted and so rich in its cultural, economic and people-to-people dimensions that it would appear that politicians and governments almost don’t matter. Actually, it is upon governments in both countries, and upon us MPs – my British and Indian colleagues and me, in my capacity as co-chair of the India-UK Parliamentary Forum – to build on the partnerships that civil society has already constructed, and to give the India-UK relationship even more of a strategic edge.

The Budget opens up wide scope for private sector participation in sectors such as healthcare.

India’s Union Budget 2018-19, presented by the Finance Minister on 1 February 2018, reaffirms the government’s focus on keeping the Indian economy on an inclusive growth path with an emphasis on social sector, infrastructure and agricultural development. This was the government’s last full-year budget before the General Elections in 2019 and came on the back of significant structural reforms in the last 12-15 months including demonetisation, introduction of GST and a comprehensive insolvency legislation aimed at resolving the twin balance sheet problem that has been ailing the Indian banking and corporate sectors.

New approaches to charitable giving, such as innovative finance and impact bonds, are crucial to achieve impact at scale in countries like India.

South Asia is home to 20 per cent of the world’s population. It is also home to 33 per cent of the world’s poor who live on less than $2 a day (World Bank 2016). Some of the major challenges facing South Asia remain persistent: poverty, illiteracy, youth unemployment, gender inequality, trafficking, child labour and mental illness. To tackle this widespread poverty and hardship, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, together with leading members of the British Asian Diaspora, established the British Asian Trust (BAT) in 2007 to provide a vehicle for UK and Asian philanthropists to identify and support effective grassroots development programmes in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Sanjiv Chadha is the Regional Head for the UK for State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest state-owned bank. The London-based executive, also Chair of the Association of Indian Banks in the UK, took time out for ‘India Global Business’ to elaborate on SBI’s move from a branch of the Indian entity in Britain into a standalone subsidiary, in line with regulatory requirements, and how the Indian roots of the bank have proved a big asset.

What will the launch of SBI’s UK subsidiary mean for clients and the bank?

We will be launching our UK subsidiary on April 1. This is a process which began nearly two years ago. We have had our retail presence in the UK and now, what was earlier a part of State Bank of India, will become a UK incorporated banking entity.

The co-chair of the India-UK Legal Exchange Programme lays out the benefits of closer ties in the sector.

“Lawyers are the cement of society” are the famous words attributed to the world-renowned Cambridge scholar Glanville Williams QC. Following the referendum in favour of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU), it is safe to say divisions and cracks have formed within British society which could do with being cemented.

‘New World Wealth’ recently reported that 7,000 ultra-rich Indians moved overseas to various locations in 2017, including the UK. A financial expert analyses the tax scenario in the country to weigh up its attractions.

The focus of this report is on the tax regime in the UK and why this may be attractive to individuals domiciled in India or elsewhere. The UK offers many other social and economic benefits and tax is unlikely to be the only factor influencing the decision. However, these are outside the scope of this article.

Like the under-performing India-UK relationship, bilateral ties between India and Canada present another conundrum.

To call the India-Canada relationship underwhelming would be, well, an understatement. Bilateral trade between two of the world’s largest economies – India is the world’s sixth-largest and Canada the tenth-largest – with a combined GDP of about $4 trillion is a paltry $8.3 billion, according to figures from Statistics Canada. That’s a minuscule 0.2 per cent of all goods and services produced in these two countries.

The signs are ominous. Recent utterances by the US President and top administration officials point towards more punitive import tariffs and entry restrictions to protect American industry. This could beget retaliation from China and others and seriously undermine the incipient global economic recovery.

The bull has entered the China shop and though it hasn’t started rampaging yet, its first moves suggest that it could just be warming up.

There appears to be awareness that India’s relations with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) must move beyond symbolism.

One of Narendra Modi’s first foreign policy initiatives called on the country to reinvigorate its “Look East” policy, making it an “Act East” policy. The Look East policy, launched in 1991, is not without achievements – bilateral trade between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) increased from just $2.3bn in 1991/92 to around $70bn in 2016/17. However, the contrast with China is stark – back in 1991 China-ASEAN trade stood at just $6.3bn. Last year, however, it had jumped to $515bn.

From oil and gas to FMCG, Indian companies made their mark around the world in recent weeks.

India gets stake in Abu Dhabi oil

Indian companies agreed to pay $600 million for a stake in one of Abu Dhabi’s biggest offshore oil concessions, securing a share in the emirate’s crude production for the first time.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in London in April is expected to be the most ground-breaking summit for the bloc of 53 nations.

When Narendra Modi arrives for the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in London in April, he will be aware of the significance of his very presence at the summit. It will mark the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to CHOGM since Trinidad and Tobago in 2010, with Indian leaders having given summits in Perth, Colombo and Malta a miss.

Policy incentives, support organisations, universities and large corporates have all played a vital role in the evolution of an innovation-led scenario in India.

Over the centuries innovation has been a key change agent the world over in an effort to provide accessible and affordable solutions to dynamic consumer needs. It plays a crucial role in determining the industrial and economic competitiveness of any country.

Businesses, the diaspora and policy powerhouses will all need to work in tandem to build lasting UK-India ties, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa.

This year, there is an important chance to reassess the strength of India’s bond with the UK and show the world that India is a bridge-building nation.

It is just over a year until the UK reaches its Article 50 deadline and leaves the European Union (EU). UK economic growth is beating all forecasts and UK manufacturing has never had a higher output than it did at the tail end of 2017. This will come as a relief to policy-makers, as Brexit’s biggest mountains are still to be tackled.

When UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivered the first of a number of Brexit speeches from senior Cabinet figures last month, he put forward his vision of Brexit liberating the UK to create its own trade rules and expand into new markets where the EU has previously “held it back”.

Boris’ ‘Liberal Brexit’ outline may not have raised the stakes since Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech in January 2017, where the British Prime Minister asserted the need to honour the referendum result by making a clear break from the EU, the Customs Union and the Single Market. But he has put pressure on the Prime Minister to make her position clearer, for the benefit of all of those around the world with business interests in the UK, who want to keep up to speed on the negotiations.

Averting a cliff-edge

The EU27 nations are, as a bloc, headed to be one of the top four major economies, joining China, the US and India, in a decade’s time. India’s ties with Europe are strong and will grow even more valuable. How will the UK figure in all of this?

The EU27 are concerned that the UK could aim to undercut the EU by drastically shedding environmental, labour, and trading regulations in order to trade more with other nations.

However, the likelihood is that there will be some regulatory alignment on goods. This will go some way to alleviating the problem of a hard land border at Northern Ireland, and will reduce the threat of trade tariffs being levied and non-tariff barriers being imposed at vital trade ports.

Whether the UK strikes such a deal or not, the uplift of global growth will provide the UK with a cushion on which to land as it steps off the Brexit cliff. And Brexit will allow the UK to set its own tariffs on trade in services, the area where the EU-India free trade agreement (FTA) failed. There is a long way to go before all barriers to UK-India free trade are overcome and we need to determine the parameters soon.

Those who trade and invest in the UK will need reassurance that the UK will remain open and welcoming to the labour force and talent that it needs. A rapid reversal of EU migration to the UK would bring a cloud over a number of fast-growing sectors. New entrants are needed in the tech sector, manufacturing and engineering, and across the board in cities like London.

Mobility of professionals

The UK still has a tiered visa system and the number of applicants still hits the cap, month after month, showing there is no shortage of applicants for skilled work. Nasscom estimates that there are about 30,000 Indians working under the Tier 2 visa regime – in every sector from technology to food – but there is clearly scope to increase the freedom of movement between the UK and India after Brexit.

What is clear is that such initiatives to create closer ties between the UK and India are just as important as the Brexit negotiations, which will reach a crunch point this Summer. The two discussions need to happen in parallel.

UK-India Week

The fifth annual UK-India Leadership Conclave will take place during UK-India Week this year, a showcase of all that we stand to gain by making the best of the UK-India partnership.

After Brexit, the UK will have a new place on the world stage, but its old partners will be even more important. We will have a vital chance to radically renew the UK-India bond, but businesses, the diaspora and policy powerhouses will all need to be involved for us to build lasting ties.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

The Chair of the Manchester India Partnership explains the benefits of connectivity this new tie-up would bring India and the UK.

It is a great honour to have been named chairman of the Manchester India Partnership and to have launched the organisation, both in the UK and during a visit to Delhi and Mumbai this month.

One of my primary objectives for the months ahead as CEO of Manchester Airport is to secure direct flight services to India and, as I will set out below, the Partnership is all about ensuring the benefits of this connectivity will be maximised.

Lord Jonathan Marland, Chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), presents his view on how the utilisation of the Commonwealth network can help India achieve its international trade and investment targets.

One of the most notable elements of the India-UK relationship in recent years is the complete absence of the Commonwealth in our bilateral discourse. We quite rightly talk about the values we share — values of democracy, responsibility, the rule of law and fair play — yet, we never speak about them through the lens of the Commonwealth, the network that both countries played key roles in establishing and that also promotes these values across the 52 member-states (now 53 with The Gambia).

The India-UK relationship is one that is punching well below its weight in bilateral and international matters because it has been allowed to drift. A little more understanding of each other’s compulsions can reinvigorate ties and make it a game-changing partnership that can reap rich economic rewards for the two nations and also turn it into a force for the greatest global good.

The potential is there for all to see. Senior serving and former government officials in both the UK and India acknowledge the bright prospects of bilateral ties between these two countries. But a few niggling issues and domestic political concerns over immigration in the UK and its fallout on Indian professionals and students have come in the way of fully consummating these ties.

As 2017 draws to a close, we look at a number of steps taken by the Narendra Modi government to clean up processes and lay out a roadmap for faster growth.

It is never a wise thing to look back upon, and label a year when there’s still half a month to go for the New Year. Having got that caveat aside, it would be fair to call 2017 the year of clean-ups – when the Narendra Modi government decided to clean up the choke points that were hindering the economy from moving into a higher, more robust growth trajectory in the years to come.

Vinay Dube is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jet Airways, India’s leading private full-service international airlines. The aviation industry veteran took time out for ‘India Global Business’ during a recent London visit to explain what made Jet launch its fourth direct flight on the London-India circuit, future growth ambitions and plans to acquire as many as 150 new aircraft over the next five years.

What prompted Jet to launch its fourth direct flight in the UK?

In October, we introduced our third daily, non-stop service between London Heathrow and Mumbai.

The UK’s first-ever ‘Race Disparity Audit’ commissioned by PM Theresa May threw up some interesting facts about the Indian diaspora this year.

When Prime Minister Theresa May assumed office in July 2016, she expressed her personal passion and commitment for making Britain a great meritocracy, a place where advantage is based on merit not privilege; where it is talent and hard work that matter, not where someone was born, who their parents are or what their accent sounds like.

A London-based policy expert weighs up the challenges and opportunities thrown up by Brexit to strike a stronger India-UK dynamic.

Talk of Brexit is never far from the headlines in the UK press. Theresa May triggering Article 50 signaled the start of the process. This presents significant challenges and opportunities for Commonwealth countries, with India being a prime example.

New research from my organisation, the Royal Commonwealth Society, reveals an overwhelming majority of British businesses want to see the Government prioritise trade deals with the Commonwealth. It is significant that nearly three quarters of all UK businesses want an Indian trade deal.

With Brexit around the corner, one of Britain’s neighbours is making a play for Indian investments as a member of the European Union (EU).

Ireland has a strong proposition for any company choosing to do business in Europe. A part of the European Union (EU), the country’s impressive offering includes large and small companies, MNCs and indigenous companies, universities and research institutes in the technology, ICT, life-sciences, financial services and advanced manufacturing sectors.

One of the European Union’s (EU) leading economies sets out what makes it the right gateway to Europe for Indian companies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was only in Berlin for 24 hours on May 30, but the wake of his visit has left little doubt as to how important India is to Germany and the EU. German Chancellor Angela Merkel used a joint appearance in front of a business audience to emphasise that agreeing an EU-India free trade agreement (FTA) would be a priority.

Abhishek Lodha is the Managing Director of the Lodha Group, a Mumbai-headquartered developer which made its global foray with high-profile projects in the UK. ‘India Global Business’ caught up with him to get an update on this international vision, plans for the group’s luxury London developments and the Brexit effect on the property market.

What was the motivation behind the Lodha Group’s expansion to the UK?

We started in London in December 2013, early 2014 and the idea was to establish a business which builds on our success and learnings in India and allows us to operate as an Indian multinational by operating in one of the most competitive, most expensive as well as the highest quality markets in the world.

Over the last three years, we are developing two of London’s most prestigious developments – No. 1 Grosvenor Square, which was the Canadian High Commission and before that the American Embassy, and Lincoln Square, which is just off London School of Economics next to the Royal Courts of Justice. What we are trying to do is truly world-class quality. We have put in a lot of effort and money into the design, into the marketing content, brought in the best names from across the UK as well as internationally.

2017 will be remembered as the year in which India and the US came closer on a number of issues, yet it will also mark the year when the Trump administration frittered away some goodwill by blocking India’s attempt at ensuring food security for millions.

The WTO negotiations in Buenos Aires were dead almost before they began. The main point of contention: US opposition to finding a permanent solution to the issue of India (and some other countries) holding large food stocks in order to ensure food security for millions of hungry people.

The chief of one of India’s leading trade bodies, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), traces some of the lesser known facts behind India’s positive impact on the US economy in this ‘India Global Business’ exclusive.

Over the past two decades, the bilateral partnership between India and the United States had grown in leaps and bounds. Looking back at the trajectory of the relationship, we have truly come a long way – from the cloud of suspicion that hung after India conducted its nuclear tests in the 1990s to the landmark US-India civil nuclear agreement in 2006 – which helped spur sustained engagements at the very highest levels – till today and the establishment of an array of official dialogues encompassing all aspects of our bilateral relationship.

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth believes India has emerged as a natural champion to demonstrate innovation in action for the organisation.


Nothing quite prepares you for the havoc caused when the power of nature strikes with destructive force. My recent visit to the Caribbean made me very aware of the ferocity of three hurricanes in as many weeks. I was shocked by what I saw from the air as my plane flew into Dominica, the country of my birth.

Asian equations, specially between the two giant economies of China and India will be in focus with the installation of Donald Trump as the 45th US president.

Trump’s belligerent ‘America First’ foreign and commercial policy stance, will in all likelihood, force China to curb its manufactured goods exports to the US, with whom it has a whopping and patently unsustainable trade surplus of nearly half a trillion dollars! It is unlikely that even US MNCs, which have huge export bases in China, could prevail upon Trump to not push back imports from China. This should push Chinese exporters to look for alternate markets during the next five to 10 years, during which China completes its planned switch to greater reliance on domestic consumption. India, with its growing and potentially large domestic markets and long track record of trade deficits, would offer a tempting opportunity for Chinese exporters looking to divert their exports and utilising their installed capacities.

François-Philippe Champagne is Canada’s Minister for International Trade with over 20 years’ experience working for major companies worldwide. ‘India Global Business’ caught up with the minister soon after the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting in London recently to explore the potential of India-Canada ties within a broader multilateral context.

What is the status of the Canada-India free trade agreement?

The negotiation of the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) began in November 2010. Nine rounds of negotiations have been held to date; the latest of which was in March 2015. And, last fall, my predecessor, Chrystia Freeland, met with her Indian counterpart, Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, during the 3rd Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment in Toronto.

An Indian banker set to expand his start-up base to the UAE elaborates on the reasons behind this move.

Rubique is a FinTech company based in Mumbai. We offer a lending marketplace platform which provides individuals and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country with frictionless access to a wide range financial services products including loans, credit cards and insurance products.

Vivek Gambhir is Managing Director, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL), and the key architect of the firm s 3x3 strategy to drive international expansion. He talks ‘India Global Business’ through the strategy and the consumer giant’s over-arching goals with a specific eye on emerging markets like Africa.

How would you describe GCPL's Africa strategy and how does it fit into the 3X3 plans?

Over the past few years, we have been scaling up our international presence with acquisitions that fit well in our “3 by 3” strategy – a presence in emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America through three core categories – hair care, home care and personal care. These strategic acquisitions have strongly aided our growth story. Through them, we have both extended our core businesses and implicitly broadened our presence to a wider canvas.

Establishing a strong foothold in Africa is a key part of our strategy, both in terms of business size today, as well as potential for the future. Africa contributes 31 per cent of our revenues from international businesses, with annualised revenues of $200 million. We now have a growing business presence in South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Angola in the hair extensions, hair cosmetics, hair colours, household insecticides and personal wash categories.

Sumit Jamuar is the Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Global Gene Corp, a worldwide developer of genetic testing technology. As someone who set about fixing the lack of Indian genomics data in the world, the UK-based entrepreneur shares his insights into this revolutionary field and how being a Global Indian had an impact on much of his decision-making.

What is the motivation behind Global Gene Corp and what has its growth trajectory been like?

Genomics is a revolutionary technology that had, and will have, a positive disruptive impact on human health.

India Inc. yoga expert runs through how to re-align the mind and body for the New Year with a range of poses, meditation and breathing techniques.

January 1 serves as a benchmark to reflect and take stock of where we have come from and plan where we will be going. For many of us it’s a time to re-set. Resetting means ‘to set again or differently’. The New Year allows us to do exactly that.

Digital India has led to a change of mindset geared towards innovation and technology.

India feels like a changed country this year. Travelling around and meeting people around Mumbai as we approach the end of 2017, I see many signs of this – from the use of mobile wallets on the toll roads, to digitalisation of systems providing provident fund management as part of employee pension schemes.

The number of Indian-built models registered by British buyers rose by almost half (48.6 per cent) to 21,135 units in the first half of this year alone.

UK car production fell by -13.7 per cent in June, with 136,901 cars rolling off production lines, according to recent figures released by the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The third consecutive month of decline, following changes in production schedules for new model introductions, resulted in a -2.9 per cent year to date dip in output, triggering alarm bells over the impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU).

The year 2017 will come to be remembered in India as the year of the big clean-up of past choke points for the economy, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa.

Indian Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Parliament recently that the Narendra Modi government has abolished 1,183 outdated laws since it came to power in 2014.

A series of green bond listings on the London Stock Exchange to raise funds for Indian infrastructure projects dominated the bilateral relationship in recent months.

India, UK to ink pact in urban transport sector

India and the UK will sign a pact soon for cooperation in policy planning, technology transfer and institutional organisation in the urban transport sector.

India’s Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari, met UK’s Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in London recently and discussed a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement.

The draft MoU seeks to facilitate cooperation in the transport sector and enable the sharing of expertise and latest technology to promote efficient mobility solutions. The statement said it is also expected to usher in policy reforms that can transform the transport sector through improved customer service/data analysis and better use of IT systems.

The pact will also help in promoting digital transactions and induction of high capacity diesel/electric vehicles in India, it said adding, this MoU will also establish the terms on which such assistance can be provided.

During his visit to London, Gadkari addressed a session of the International Maritime Organisation.

He also addressed Indian business leaders in UK, urging them to cooperate in the Namami Gange project of the government.

The civil aviation sector was at the heart of the bond between India and the European Union (EU) in recent weeks.

India clears aviation MoU with Poland

The Union Cabinet of India, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Poland for the Promotion of Civil Aviation Cooperation. The MoU, which will be for a term of five years, will be signed on behalf of the two countries after its approval by the two governments.

The objective of the MoU is to recognise the mutual benefit of Cooperation in the field of civil aviation, having particular significance in establishing and improving Regional Air Connectivity in India. Apart from this, both sides will recognise the mutual benefits of environmental testing or approvals, flight simulators monitoring and approvals, aircraft maintenance facilities approvals, maintenance personnel approvals and aircrew members’ approvals.

This MoU will promote and facilitate mutual cooperation by providing support in the civil aviation market by reviewing any legal and procedural issues which may adversely affect cooperation between India and Poland.

It also looks at promoting exchange of information and expertise between the Ministries and respective civil aviation authorities related to aviation regulations, regional air operations, airworthiness requirements and safety standards to enhance safety and security of air transport, among other things.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a series of strategic visits during the year, including State Visits across Europe, the US and Israel. This snapshot of his official tours around the world captures the diplomatic strides made by India in 2017 and the regions of focus for 2018. His External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, was also part of this diplomatic agenda, as was Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.

Indian companies created over 100,000 jobs in the US in recent months, which will define the relationship into the New Year.

Biocon widens BristolMyers Squibb tie-up

Biocon's contract research arm, Syngene International, has expanded its ongoing drug discovery and development with US-based Bristol-Myers Squibb till 2026.

Syngene International said in a Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) filing: "The next phase of the partnership will see the addition of a new facility to support future Bristol-Myers Squibb research and development operations, an expansion of the team and the extension of the existing agreement through 2026.”

The expansion will enable the two companies to undertake a greater range of scientific research and development for pharmaceuticals across a broader range of activities.

Syngene’s new dedicated facility will be spread across 25,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space for Bristol-Myers Squibb. It will house an additional team of 75 Syngene scientists who will work exclusively for Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Biocon BMS Research Center (BBRC), Syngene's first dedicated R&D centre, was established in 2007, which was subsequently renewed through 2020 and now has been extended till 2026.

It is the largest research and development facility for Bristol-Myers Squibb outside the United States and plays an integral part within their global research and development network.

From Bangladesh and Africa to Israel and China, the footprint of India spread far and wide in recent months.

Gloster plans foray into Bangladesh

Diversified jute manufacturer and exporter Gloster Limited is planning to set up a unit in Bangladesh. The new unit will be a greenfield site and cater to the export market.

A brief chronicle of the country’s inventions and ideas that have been pivotal in shaping the world come to life as part of the UK-India Year of Culture.

Some of the most important ideas in the history of science, technology, mathematics and engineering find their roots in India. Thanks to the influence that Indian scientific thought had on the civilisations with which it made contact, those ideas and inventions spread throughout the world.

Good corporate governance in a company includes succession planning as a vital element.

Organisations that can envisage continuity of business in times of exigencies such as unexpected departures of key people are possibly following best practices.

The realisation must dawn on companies to make succession planning as an ongoing process and not an adhoc event. It can serve twin purposes of maintaining continuity in leadership and developing knowledge capital for the future.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought about a paradigm shift in India’s quest for oil, gas, uranium by forging close relations with the five ‘Stans’ – Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The controversial and much delayed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is finally getting a move on – a full 22 years after it was conceived.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony last December, India will host the next meeting of the Steering Committee which has been formed for the $7.6-billion, 1,814-km-long pipeline that will transport gas from the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan to India to feed its power plants and meet its energy security needs.

India and Australia have great historical and cultural linkages but that is yet to translate into bilateral trade and investment.

It is an anecdote that Matt Staff, a former senior executive at mining behemoth Rio Tinto’s operations at Pilbara region of Western Australia and now a part time tour guide in Perth is only too happy to narrate to his occasional Indian guests. Staff’s familiarity with the region and his inherent cheerful disposition would mean he would often be called upon to double up as a guide to high profile visitors while at Rio Tinto. This one time back in 2004, he was told months in advance of a particular guest he would need to take around the company’s operations around Perth. There was only one instruction — to be courteous to a fault and to do all it takes to make the guest comfortable.

The world’s 13th largest economy is the ideal investment destination for Indian organisations seeking international expansion to secure access to natural resources – minerals and energy – and create assets, technologies and brands, claims the country’s trade and investment commission.

An economy with 26 years of consecutive growth integrated with Asia, Europe and North America; globally competitive industries; a smart, skilled workforce makes Australia an compelling investment destination.

Arundhati Bhattacharya is the first woman to chair the State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest state-owned bank. Just before her retirement in early October, she took time out for ‘India Global Business’ during a visit to the UK to delve into Indian banking reforms and the promise of measures like demonetisation and Goods & Services Tax (GST) having a positive impact on the economy in the long term.

What does the new SBI bond index series launched in the UK mean for the Indian bond market?

In respect of the Indian government bond market, we didn’t have any international indices on which the international investors could take a call. The Indian bond market is around $1.7 trillion. With the launch of this index alongside FTSE Russell on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), our intention is to give people a benchmark based on which they can make investment calls.

The coastal city of Melbourne is Australia’s second-largest and the capital of the state of Victoria. It has a varied demography with almost of a quarter of its population born overseas and Indians forming a large chunk of that multi-cultural group and Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism among its top five religions.

Tech solutions, real estate and food production – India’s interest in Australia encompasses a wide array of sectors.

ANAROCK buys Indian arm of Aussie firm

ANAROCK Property Consultants Pvt Ltd, the real estate venture floated by former JLL India chief Anuj Puri, has acquired the local operations of Australian realty broking firm LJ Hooker under the Redwoods brand.

ANAROCK chairman Puri said in a statement: “The acquisition of LJ Hooker’s Redwoods is in line with our overall business strategy and will help us augment our operations across key southern markets.”

Bangalore-based Redwoods Projects Pvt Ltd will provide ANAROCK a competitive advantage in offering customised real estate solutions.

The company has 750 employees and aims to ramp up the headcount to 1,000 by the end of 2017. It operates in all key property markets across India, including Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Noida, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune and also has a presence in Dubai.

It provides broking and advisory services to clients, investment services, debt, equity and mezzanine funding, and research and consulting for residential real estate through a hybrid online-offline model.

Indian banks and investment banks are investing in global financial centres such as London, New York, Singapore and Dubai to better serve the growing and very lucrative market for cross-border deals involving Indian companies.

Here’s a quiz question: Which Indian bank has the largest presence outside India?

The answer is not as easy and straightforward as it looks. The top spot is claimed by two banks – Bank of Baroda, which has 51 branches in foreign countries, and State Bank of India, which has 48 foreign branches and four subsidiary banks in London, New York, Nepal, and Mauritius.

From Turkey and Egypt to the Gulf, Indian companies continue to show an appetite for emerging markets.

Mahindra acquires Turkish tractor firm

Mumbai-based Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has acquired Erkunt Traktor Sanayii AS, a Turkish tractor maker and its foundry business for Rs 800 crore ($123 million) through Mahindra Overseas Investment Co.(Mauritius) Ltd.

The buyout will provide the company access to Turkish agricultural machinery market, the fourth largest globally, and help it enhance its product portfolio.

Mahindra has already acquired 75.1 per cent in Hisarlar, a Turkish farm equipment company earlier this year.

Pawan Goenka, managing director at Mahindra and Mahindra, said that the latest buyout is part of a larger strategy that has globalisation and diversifying product portfolio beyond tractors, as two important pillars of growth strategy for the farm equipment business.

After this acquisition, Mahindra will be focusing on consolidating its presence in the overseas markets it has recently entered – these including Brazil, Turkey, Japan and Algeria.

As part of the agreement, Mahindra will acquire 100 per cent of the share capital of Erkunt Traktor and at least 80 per cent of Erkunt Sanayii A.S, which is held by Erkunt Traktor.

A number of international companies are stepping in to take advantage of India’s location as a promising export hub.

Foxconn eyes exports from India

The world’s largest contract manufacturer, Foxconn, plans to begin exports to the Middle East and African countries from India the end of this year.

The Taiwan-headquartered phone and electronics maker is stepping up an expansion of its manufacturing facility in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh, while scouting for more locations including Tirupati in the same state, besides states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Delhi NCR.

Over the next year or so, Foxconn is aiming for its suppliers to set up base here so they can feed into the local production chain which it will create for exports, Indian media reports.

Foxconn, which makes iPhones for Apple out of China, is also reportedly set to accelerate discussions with several component suppliers over next couple of months, now that the Indian government has assured protection to local manufacturing through basic customs duty of 10 per cent and created a roadmap for local production of components coupled with tax incentives and benefits.

Foxconn has so far invested around $600 million in the India market.

A financial expert delves into how reforms in the sector are set to transform the Indian economy.

The last few years have been a seminal period for the Indian economy, not only in terms of the overall progress on the macroeconomic front, but more importantly in the structural reforms undertaken, many of which will have deep-rooted, long-term effects.

Be it the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Demonetisation or Goods and Services Tax (GST), each of these reforms has targeted a specific segment of the problems faced by our economy and tried to root out the underlying issues to create a lasting rather than a transitory solution which would have relied on superficial, short-term panaceas. While there might be some short-term pain involved, there is no denying the long-term benefits that will accrue through these reforms.

The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has become the latest Indian entity to launch a new Green Masala Bond on the London Stock Exchange.

The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) listed new a new Green Masala Bond on International Securities Market (ISM) to raise funds to finance renewable energy projects across India.

Tata Motors owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has unveiled ambitious plans to electrify all its vehicles from 2020 as part of a more greener strategy.

Tata Motors owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) recently announced that all its new models will be electrified from the year 2020.

The luxury brand, acquired by the Indian automotive giant nine years ago, unveiled plans for a range of fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles in the coming years.

Acquisitions in the field of software and pharmaceuticals dominated the Indian march across UK and Europe in recent months.

Tata Steel completes sale of UK mills

The UK’s Liberty House Group has completed the purchase of two pipe mills from Tata Steel UK in north-east England.

Liberty, which is part of the GFG Alliance, had signed a provisional agreement to acquire the units at Hartlepool last month and appointed top steel pipe specialist, James Annal, to head the new pipe and tube division. Sanjeev Gupta, the executive chairman of Liberty House, said the deal marked his group’s plans to play a key role in the global oil and gas pipeline sector.

He said: “This is an important first step in our ambition to become a world leader in energy pipe and we are already looking at plants in other countries. The acquisition of this high-calibre business and its skilled workforce gives us the basis to upgrade the liquid steel production facilities we’re buying at Whyalla, South Australia, and our plate mills at Dalzell and Clydebridge in Scotland to make high-value-added API grade plates that can be rolled at Hartlepool to supply pipeline projects worldwide.

“This fully-integrated value chain will make us a world leader in this field and help showcase Britain's engineering prowess in supplying a world-class highly-engineered product.”

Liberty has said it intends to rebuild the previously struggling operation at Hartlepool, adding around 100 new jobs to the existing 140-strong workforce.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has attracted a series of Indian entrepreneurs to its shores who today stand out as the perfect ambassadors for India-UAE ties.

Yusuffali MA Organisation: Lulu Group Industry: Retail Place of origin: Kerala

Background: Left India in 1973 for Abu Dhabi to join EMKE Group, founded by his uncle. There he developed the business further and launched the Lulu Hypermarket in 1990 at a time when the retail sector in the UAE was undergoing a change. The group today employs the largest number of Indians outside India.

He is one of the wealthiest Indian with stakes in Catholic Syrian Bank, Federal Bank and Cochin International Airport. He has also purchased the Scotland Yard Building in London.

Factoid: He was conferred the title of Padma Shri in 2008 and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2005, which is the highest Indian government award bestowed upon NRIs.

India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa tracks how India has driven its auto sector on to the road of global success.

Even as you read this piece, there are at least 1,500 passenger cars and 6,000 motorcycles being loaded onto ships at some Indian port for export to the Middle East, Africa, Europe and even the US. The badges they wear read like a veritable who’s who of the international auto industry and include such marquee names as Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, Suzuki and Renault among cars and Honda, Bajaj and Hero MotoCorp among two-wheelers. And I haven’t even mentioned tractors, heavy, medium and light commercial vehicles, three-wheelers and a host of complex and simple auto components.

Over the last three decades, India has developed a very robust domestic automobile sector where the world’s largest and most popular brands jostle for market share with home-grown auto majors such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Auto Ltd and Hero MotoCorp, among many others.

Today, it is not uncommon to find consumers in the most developed countries in the world driving around in Made in India vehicles. Yes, a vast majority of these vehicles carry the brand names of US, European, Japanese and South Korean companies but make no mistake – each of these cars has been assembled by Indian technicians in Indian factories and mostly with components that are not only made in India but also designed at R&D labs in that country.

Then, it took an Indian enterprise and billions of dollars of Indian investments to restore and renew the glory of iconic British car maker Jaguar Land Rover and revive its fortunes. Another Indian multinational, Apollo Tyres, too, has recently invested about $500-million in a plant in Hungary, its second in Europe after the one in the Netherlands.

All these examples show that the Indian automobile industry is now fully integrated into the global supply chain – and a source of both components and kits as well as fully assembled vehicles to assembly plants, OEMs and showrooms around the world.

In this issue of ‘India Global Business’, we celebrate the global success of this indigenisation effort with our cover story titled ‘Picking up speed’ not only because it is, arguably, among the most successful Make in India initiatives but also because of the lessons it holds for the Narendra Modi government’s efforts to transform India into a global manufacturing hub, which is a precondition to providing new jobs to the millions of young Indians who enter the country’s workforce every year.

The beginnings were small, mostly unheralded and, as is usual with most path breaking economic initiatives in India, widely criticised for opening up the Indian market to foreign players.

Note the similarities with the Modi government’s efforts to build a domestic defence-industrial base in India and its efforts to position India as a global electronics manufacturing hub.

From those small beginnings in the early 1980s, when a handful of Japanese car and two-wheeler makers set up plants to assemble a few thousand units of their vehicles a year from completely or semi knocked down kits imported from their mother countries, India slowly, and organically, developed a local vendor base to bring down the import component in these vehicles to globally acceptable levels and even developed the knowhow and “know why” to be able to develop not only components but complete cars and bikes within the country.

Today, India makes more than 3 million passenger cars and close to 20 million two-wheelers and exports more than half a million of the former and about 2 million of the latter.

China and before it the South East Asian Tiger Economies all followed this approach when they set out to conquer the world of business at various times in the last century.

India is a late adopter of this approach but, as its success in the automobile sector shows, has the necessary wherewithal, including the scientific base and manufacturing capabilities, to replicate this success in other complex engineering sectors.

There are reports that India is considering issuing licenses for the assembly of F-16 or SAAB Gripen fighter planes in India if their parent companies agree to replicate their domestic eco-system of vendors and developments in India. The same is also happening in the case of submarines and artillery guns and small arms.

These initiatives, too, will have to start with limited initial ambitions. But if they are nurtured well and seen through to their logical end, we could well see Made in India fighter planes flying with NATO and Japanese colours one day and consumers in my home country, the UK, speaking on mobile phones and advancing their careers with computers and tablets assembled by an Indian company in England.

Meanwhile, apart from our in-depth feature on the Indian auto sector, there is a usual wealth of material on India’s global march in the pages ahead of this edition.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

The Indian PM has spelt out his vision for a New India ahead of the next General Election in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, in past Independence Day addresses to the nation, announced grand flagship schemes that promise to transform India. So, one was expecting more of the same this year. Instead, the Prime Minister announced a vision – of a New India, that he urged all Indians to work towards, by 2022.

Established Indian business houses as well as start-ups are investing billions in the Middle East, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to leverage the global access and ease of doing business the region offers.

There are only two certainties in life, death and taxes, goes an old saying. The bonus of living, working and doing business in most Middle Eastern countries is that taxes are either non-existent or very nominal.

A serial entrepreneur explores what makes the Middle East an attractive proposition for Indian start-ups.

The UAE is a hub for expats and global businesses; located strategically this place provides immense business opportunities for people all over the world thus making it a hub for Indian start-ups also.

The region is a magnet for fintech growth, writes an entrepreneur behind a Dubai start-up.

The UAE is known for tall buildings, large projects on sea, oil economy, trading and real-estate projects. The landscape is transformed with e-commerce start-up SOUQ.com taken-over by Amazon for over $650 million.

The UAE is a very small country with 10 million people and seven emirates, diversity is huge with people from over 160 countries. So ideas flow rapidly.

Donald Trump’s ambivalence on economic and strategic issues concerning India is coming in the way of taking bilateral ties to the next level.

If India and the US were Facebook friends, then many in the Indian establishment would be justified in describing the relationship as “It’s complicated.”

India is a “major defence ally” of the US, the economic relationship is vibrant, at least on the face of it, Washington has reiterated its support for India to be admitted into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) as a full member and public statements by senior government officials on both sides continue to exude warmth.

A new publication and web resource on India-US relations delves into a new era of multi-dimensional bilateral ties.

“The relationship between India and America has overcome the ‘hesitations of history’.” This was a statement made by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, at his joint address to the US Congress in 2016.

The “hesitation” refers to the phase where in a bipolar Cold War era India decided to adopt a foreign policy of non-alignment and India’s weak economy pre-1991 wasn’t helping the American cause either. Nevertheless, the relationship has now moved far away from that “hesitation” and in the last two decades has become reflective of what Undersecretary Nicholas Burns of the Bush administration had predicted: “Within a generation many Americans may view India as one of the most important strategic partners”.

Y.K. Koo, as Managing Director & CEO of Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), is in the driving seat of one of the leading automotive giants in India. ‘India Global Business’ explores his vision for the Indian market, plans for the country as an exports hub and R&D plans for the region.

How important is India for Hyundai globally, as a market and as a production hub?

India has emerged as an important automotive market and offers huge growth potential for automobile companies. At Hyundai, our aim is to become our customers’ lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond by providing new value and experience to customer beyond their expectation. Over the past few decades, we have gained strong market leadership position with sustainable growth through consistent innovation, market research and widening our product portfolio through new launches equipped with new technology and features that are relevant to the Indian market.

Country’s robust automobile manufacturing base is now churning out cars and bikes for diverse geographies from Latin America, Africa to East Asia and Australia.

In fiscal 2016, India exported more cars across the world than China. On the one hand, it does not mean much. In the overall list of top car exporters, India still ranks a poor 20th. Even among emerging economies in Asia, it is behind Thailand.

Yet, overtaking China has its own importance. It is the world’s largest automotive market and also the largest producer. The growth of China’s economy in the last two decades has been led by its rise as an export giant — first in textiles and then in steel followed by computer hardware. It is difficult to find a smartphone or a computer today that does not have even one component that is made in China.

Suma Chakrabarti has been charged with one of Europe’s leading development banks for five years and has spent considerable energy in striking a strong connect with India. Sir Suma tells ‘India Global Business’ how Indian companies can take the lead in re-defining the world’s development agenda.

What is your bank’s engagement with India like?

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) already works with a number of Indian companies in our countries of operation and we want to engage even more with the Indian private sector.

We have shown the way with Indian companies in our region. We have brought in Tata Beverages, Tata Power, the Jindal Group, SREI, among others, and they have all worked with us on projects in Russia, Georgia and other places.

There is a real opportunity for Indian businesses. When we look at the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa], very few of their companies are global leaders. One of the Interesting things about India is that it does have some global names.

There is a real opportunity for India with this shift in development practice towards more of a private sector approach to be first and through the door.

India’s Bird Group, which operates the Roseate Hotels and Resorts luxury chain, has ambitions to expand across Europe and the Middle East after its most recent acquisition of a boutique hotel in the UK. Ankur Bhatia, executive director of the group and director, Bird Hospitality Services, tells ‘India Global Business’ about his vision for the industry and what sets his chain apart in the world of hospitality.

How does your latest acquisition in the UK fit in with your global vision?

Roseate Hotels and Resorts is a global collection of unique and independent stay experiences by Bird Hospitality. Villa at Henrietta Park, formerly known as Villa Magdala, in the city of Bath, United Kingdom, is an integral part of our global strategy to offer best-in-class services that are carefully curated envisaging the best in design, art, hospitality, and personalisation centred around guest experience.

As many as 800 Indian companies in the UK generated £47.5 billion in combined revenues in 2016 and contributed significantly to Brexit-bound UK’s economic growth outlook, a new report reveals.

The ‘India meets Britain Tracker 2017’, released annually by professional services major Grant Thornton in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has found that Indian companies employ around 110,000 employees in the UK and last year had a combined capital expenditure of £4.25 billion.

Britain’s minister in charge of international trade makes the case for an open global trading order with the Commonwealth as its cornerstone.

I hosted the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ Meeting, an event that brought together politicians, officials and policymakers from over twenty Commonwealth nations.

It is a testament to the strength of the Commonwealth that so many of its countries were represented at this landmark meeting, during which we discussed the opportunities for trade, investment, and enhanced friendship that lie ahead.

Our cover story this time is aptly titled 'Yeh Dosti'. Indian readers will be familiar with the eponymous song from the iconic Bollywood blockbuster 'Sholay', which, even 42 years after its release, remains synonymous with undying friendship and renewal of relationships.

To dwell a little further on the renewal analogy, here in the UK, we have the custom of spring cleaning, where in anticipation of sunny times, and coming out of the winter months, we clear out the clutter and put our house in order.

The tide of history has brought India and the UK to such a turn in the road. Coincidentally, PM Narendra Modi’s vision of embracing globalisation to expand India’s economy and realise its ambitions of taking its rightful place at the global high table has some resonance with PM Theresa May’s ambition of a post-Brexit "Global Britain".

There are, or will emerge, vast areas of synergies the two countries can exploit for mutual benefit as well as for the greatest common good of all humanity. Or, in Narendra Modi’s language: “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.

But it will not be a straight and easy road. The challenge is to prevent the relationship from becoming transactional. There will always be the clear and present danger that we may have become too comfortable, and mistakenly assume that cultural affinity and a centuries-old bond will survive the ravages of a rapidly churning world order.

India and the UK need to re-imagine the relationship, re-calibrate the scales by which we judge proximity and warmth and do it fast.

Trade is the obvious area of synergy. India is the third-largest source of FDI into the UK and the UK is the largest G20 investor in India. Despite this, UK trades more with Sweden, which has a GDP that’s just about a fourth of India’s, than with India.

We can obviously do better. And, despite my view that the UK should have remained in the EU, Brexit could just offer that opportunity.

A renewed relationship also means May’s government must show greater empathy for Indian demands for concessions on immigration, as higher education for its youth and free movement of its professionals are key to keeping the wheels of its services-dependent economy greased. At the same time, India must accept the compulsions of Her Majesty’s government to respect the Brexit sentiment, which was, in essence, a vote against untrammelled immigration.

But movement has been slow. For instance, several months ago Britain's international trade minister, Dr Liam Fox, announced a working group to start pencilling in the contours of a new post-Brexit trade and investment relationship with India. This is a welcome step forward. But we must avoid bureaucratic fudges. Its work must be open, transparent, and allow a wide cross-section of stakeholders to engage in a meaningful manner.

Modi has called the Indian diaspora in the UK the “living bridge” between the two countries and has actively sought to engage them in the process of bilateral cooperation. But does the DTI or British High Commission in India have a strategy for diaspora engagement?

Taking a leaf from Modi’s book, May’s government, too, can reach out to this living bridge – and the ongoing India-UK Year of Culture presents just the right platform.

My fabulous team has made a small beginning by recognising and celebrating the achievements of such people with the India Inc. curated 'UK India 100' list of most influential people.

The potential is there for all to see. The tide is right and if May and Modi can take it at the flood, it can lead on to a great future for both countries.

History is replete with examples of individual leaders transcending their situations to lead their countries to ever greater heights. In the UK and India alone, there are examples such as Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and, potentially, Modi himself.

Can he and May move to the melody of 'Yeh Dosti'? If they do, they will have re-written the future of UK-India ties in golden letters.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

Indians spend an estimated $20 billion on their travels around the world, boosting local economies and creating jobs. A WTO study says this figure will rise to $60 billion by 2020, or about the same as the total FDI inflow into India last year.

Let us start with two simple quiz questions: Which Indian group has spent the largest sum of money in the US since the turn of the millennium? And ditto for Europe?

Okay, here’s are a few hints: it’s not the Tata Group, not the Aditya Vikram Birla Group and not even any overseas Indian-owned business like Arcelor Mittal.

Carbon capture and storage is a field India and the UK have great potential to collaborate on, writes the founder of a clean carbon company.

The UK and India have a history of collaboration when it comes to energy, something which looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. Notably, ahead of the November 2015 Paris climate summit, the two countries penned a comprehensive package of collaboration on energy and climate change, including commercial deals worth £3.2 billion, and a £10-million joint research partnership into new low-carbon technologies.

An academic presents his take on the culture and ethics deficit in financial education in a new book.

There is huge demand for finance education globally – from the accounting, banking and finance professions to business schools, students continue to flock. However, the quality and supply of education is generally poor.

One of the worst aspects of this is the lack of culture and ethics in the content of the finance syllabus – it is primarily technical, and ignores the huge and real world importance of qualities like trust, relationships, sustainability and character in financial success. Even worse, there are strong cultural assumptions underlying modern finance theory, which are rarely exposed to debate. These assumptions are that everyone is selfish, everyone is greedy, and money is the most important measure of success and happiness. In a multi-cultural diverse world, finance education remains very mono-cultural, and significantly destructive of society and our ecosystem. The theories and the science teach unsustainability and promote short-termism.

It may be time to anoint New Delhi as a hub for a reimagined Commonwealth, writes India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa.

This week the Commonwealth Secretariat has launched a report which claims that if the UK and India sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), this could boost bilateral trade by a staggering 26 per cent. I am somewhat sceptical about the speed at which an FTA could be agreed and the figures. But nonetheless any moves in this direction is positive. It is also here that the larger canvas of the Commonwealth could provide a fillip to a much more meaningful UK-India relationship of the future. There are, however, some practical and emotional hurdles to overcome before we get there.

For instance, India has been Independent for 70 years but even now some quarters in the country are still very prickly when it comes to discussions on the colonial era and India’s relations with the UK. Fortunately, such mindsets are fast becoming a thing of the past as the post-Cold War, post-9/11, post-Brexit world gets set for the next big challenges.

As one of the former colonies that has, especially with the rise of Modi – India’s first Prime Minister to be born after India’s independence – made a decisive break with the past, India has in my view everything to gain and very little, if anything, to lose from this approach. The Commonwealth could be one such institution that can become a vehicle to drive large parts of the world into the 21st century.

Though there is an urgent need to reimagine it, not as Empire 2.0 as some misguided apologists for the past have done in Britain but as a modern, forward-looking trade bloc that can help its members navigate through the choppy and highly complex waters of the global economy.

I have consistently argued that the UK has to do much of the heavy lifting following Brexit. This may be a good time to put its considerable global heft and prestige behind the move to reform and reinvigorate the Commonwealth and reimagine it as a global trading platform fit for the 21st century and beyond. It is for Her Majesty’s government to convince India, by far the largest Commonwealth member, to become its partner in the process. It is the world’s fastest growing major economy and clearly the nation to watch out for in this century. But over the years, India has viewed the Commonwealth with less than full enthusiasm.

Today, though, the world is a different place. In the era of Donald Trump and with winds of isolationism gathering pace in some Western democracies, India's global aspirations and its far-sighted and global minded leader Narendra Modi stand out as a bellwether in the global community.

Given his penchant for getting things done and for carrying other countries along – as he did with the International Solar Alliance – the place to start would be New Delhi.

To re-imagine the Commonwealth, the following steps need to be taken:

  • Recognition of a rebalancing and redistribution of power within the Commonwealth – not just India, but in key countries like Nigeria, Australia, Canada, Singapore and the East African economies
  • Structural reform with some stronger weightage placed on India from an administrative perspective
  • Anoint New Delhi as the hub or head office of the Commonwealth trading bloc
  • Re-imagining the shared values and shared aspirations on the lines of Modi’s inclusive Sabka Ka Saath, Sabka Vikas credo as large swathes of the Commonwealth remain impoverished
  • The fight against poverty must take centre-stage, not through lecturing but real programmes, such as the export of the Jan Dhan Yojana, India’s highly successful financial inclusion scheme.

Frankly, however, the often referred to issue in the corridors of Lutyens Delhi remains the future role of British monarchy. Having the Queen as the non-political ceremonial head of the Commonwealth has historically served it well, no doubt. And, in my view it is probably not as big an issue as some make it out to be, but the relationship between Prince Charles and Modi will play an important role in the emergence of the Commonwealth in the coming decades. The fact that the two men, who will find they have a lot in common, have not yet met, is one thing that needs to be rectified, and rectified quick.

The advantages are obvious and massive – a readymade, English speaking bloc straddling every continent of the world, with common or similar legal and other systems, a combined GDP of $10.4 trillion or 14 per cent of global GDP and a population of 2.4 billion or a third of the world.

The opportunity beckons. Does Mrs May’s government have the nimbleness to pick up the threads and weave it into a fabric?

That’s the 10-billion-dollar question.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

Baroness Usha Prashar straddles the worlds of politics and arts with comfort and ease. ‘India Global Business’ explores what being a Global Indian means to her.

How would you say the India-UK dynamic has evolved over the years?

India and UK have always had a special relationship but like any relationship it has had its ups and downs. In recent years the relationship has matured. India has become important economically and the relationship is beginning to change.

There is now much more reciprocity and a recognition that the relationship has to be based on equal footing. It is gaining a different dynamic. India @ 70 is more confident and its 70th anniversary is being marked by the UK India Year of Culture.

Automation in the global IT industry threatens to disrupt the sector in -India but it may be a blessing in heavy disguise. For the stagnant industry, robots may pave the way for the next round of growth.

On March 19, news reports suggested Cognizant, the New-Jersey headquartered software services firm may fire between 6,000-10,000 workers in its bid to reduce redundant and non-performing workers. As the news spread and doomsday predictions started ringing, the firm’s spokesperson sought to cool frayed nerves stating this was part of the company’s annual appraisal process when the bad apples are weeded out.

Tata Communications is at the heart of Formula 1 with a high-tech collaboration, writes a company insider.

F1 is the world’s most technologically advanced sport, and one where every millisecond matters. Whether it’s transmitting data from one of the hundreds of sensors on an F1 car back to the pits, or delivering the action in real-time via an online feed to millions of fans around the world, in this high-pressure, high-tech environment, superfast connectivity is critical.

The new Indian high commissioner to the UK believes India and the UK can work together towards a win-win visa regime.

“In the field of IT, our professionals are renowned the world over. It is very important that our IT professionals can come and work and go back. They will contribute immensely not only to the local economy but also the global economy, which is what they are doing in Silicon Valley and the rest of the world,” says the Indian high commissioner to the UK, Y.K. Sinha.

Indian companies have marked out a significant presence in the large and prosperous Nigerian market. This presence will grow further as India’s public sector oil majors are expected to invest up to $15 billion in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

A vast majority of Indians are not aware that Nigeria is an economic powerhouse whose citizens, on average, earn $2,123 per year, 20 per cent more than India’s per capita income of $1,850.

David Landsman is the Executive Director of Tata Limited and recently took charge as the Chair of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) India Business Forum (IBF) in the UK. He took time out for ‘India Global Business’ to talk about this new role, his wider perspective on post-Brexit India-UK ties and the need to address a decline in India’s exports to Britain.

What does the post-Brexit era hold for Indian companies looking at UK/Europe for expansion?

Over the past few years, more and more Indian companies have been expanding their activities in the UK and across Europe as part of their globalisation strategies. There is no doubt that there will continue to be important opportunities for Indian business, both in the UK and the rest of Europe. It is early days for Brexit and much remains to be clarified.

A corporate governance expert explores what transparency really means for businesses.

An organisation that delivers credible and timely information for all its stakeholders is transparent. Such information provides critical insights regarding the performance of a company and therefore it is imperative that companies have a disclosure mechanism in place.

Certain kinds of information are required by regulators and other kinds by investors and other stakeholders. In fact, those working in the area of corporate governance, often use the terms transparency and disclosure as if they were synonyms. There is a fine line though.

Delhi-headquartered logistics technology solutions company FarEye recently announced its foray into Europe as Belgium’s leading postal service, TBC Post, opted for its services. The CEO and co-founder tells ‘India Global Business’ what sets Indian tech solutions apart in the global marketplace.

The FarEye logistics technology solution is unique in that it is a home-grown technology product and solution combination that has gained global acceptance in a short period of three years.

Let me share what FarEye’s powerful mobile platform does. Our logistics technology solution digitalises enterprise operations by empowering field workforce. The solution includes intuitive dashboards that deliver real-time visibility to CXOs (corporate executives) to better serve their customers. This empowers the enterprises to build a competitive advantage by improving agility.

From a non-existent base 40 years ago, the Indian auto industry has come a long way, writes an industry expert.

Today, India is one of the largest auto industries in the world with an annual production of 25.3 million vehicles, significantly above conventional automotive superpowers such as the US (17.5 million vehicles) and the EU (12.6 million vehicles). The sector directly contributes $97 billion to the Indian economy with automobiles contributing $58 billion and the automotive component sector contributing $39 billion.

A new report released the UK’s Free Enterprise Group makes the case for Britain to prioritise free trade agreements (FTAs) with key Commonwealth nations like India following Brexit. ‘India Global Business’ explores the rationale behind this strategy.

‘Reconnecting with the Commonwealth: The UK’s free trade opportunities’, released by the British MPs led Free Enterprise Group, suggests a five-step plan for the UK government as it gets ready to leave the European Union (EU).

A tech expert traces India’s journey from an outsourcing hub of the 1990s to an innovation destination of today.

When I first became aware of the Indian tech sector in 1993, India would have been the least likely candidate to be named an innovation hub. Back then, and for many years, it was known more as a place where you could outsource your software development at low cost. Or in manufacturing, as the then secretary of department of electronics used to tell me, it was becoming known for ‘screwdriver assembly’, whereby product kits were imported and then assembled in India for either local consumption or re-export.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is holding on to a sliver of hope that it could become the supplier of choice for the US market.

Indian IT sector CEOs aren’t the only ones weighing every word uttered by US President Donald Trump for nuances and burning the midnight oil wondering how to maintain their lead in their largest market.

An industry expert weighs up this question against data that reflects that nearly 40 to 50 per cent of the $40-billion turnover of the auto component industry comes from the internal combustion (IC) engine powertrain industry.

A rapidly changing powertrain technology landscape, stricter regulations, shifting customer preferences, increasing demand for connectivity and digitisation have become important factors for shaping the future of mobility. The Niti Aayog recently unveiled the vision document for the Indian automotive industry ‘India Leaps Ahead – Transformative Mobility solutions for all’, jointly authored by Rocky Mountain Institute.

Many companies establish a professional board of directors comprising “stars”, but sometimes even star teams with sophisticated individuals may take bad decisions, writes a corporate governance expert.

From among many factors that could be responsible for such decisions, two stand out: availability of information and a board agenda.

Good decisions can follow if appropriate and adequate information is shared. To make a high quality “informed” decision, the board should get as much information about an issue as possible. What happens in reality?

Our yoga expert offers some simple tips to make yoga a part of your daily working lives in this ‘India Global Business’ exclusive.

Exercise at the work place is an interesting subject because obviously one should be working when at the desk as opposed to doing lunges, hanging off the desk performing tricep exercises, stretching, bending and conducting all manner of cubical calisthenics. It’s just not very normal, is it?

The Indian PM’s visit to Washington will be crucial to determine how much the US President is in a mood to listen.

The Indian political leadership has, since Independence, rooted for a multi-polar world. Now, with Donald Trump’s US voluntarily pulling back from its role as world’s peace keeper of last resort, India is close to being granted its 70-year-old wish.

Some of India’s leading pharmaceutical majors made their mark with acquisitions in recent months.

Aurobindo Pharma buys Portugal firm

Aurobindo PharmaceuticalsAurobindo Pharma has announced the acquisition of Portugal’s Generis Farmaceutica SA.

The Hyderabad-based company said a definitive agreement was signed by its step-down subsidiary, Agile Pharma, Netherlands. The acquisition will be from Magnum Capital Partners for an all-cash deal, the company said.

It will include a manufacturing facility in Amadora, Portugal, which has the capacity to produce 1.2 billion tablets or capsules annually. After the acquisition, the Aurobindo Group will be the largest in the generic pharmaceutical market in Portugal, with a portfolio of 271 generic products.

Generis has a wide portfolio of products, with a major share in therapeutic areas such as cardiovascular, central nervous system, anti-infective, and the genitourinary system.

Aurobindo expects to complete the deal by next month, after the Portuguese Competition authorities clear the deal.

Our expert explains why a sedentary office-bound lifestyle is like a ticking time bomb and how yoga therapy can help counter the effects on our joints.

Studies suggest we are all sitting for an average of 5.5 hours a day. We then go home and sit for a further 2.5-4 hours. The development of Osteoarthritic (joint wear & tear) conditions are a direct result of such a lifestyle.

The management of such low to medium grade conditions is through medication such as Ibuprofen and Celebrex, which are NSAIDS (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory) medicines and help to manage chronic and acute pain. But they are also known to increase the prevalence of major cardio vascular incidence by as much as 37 per cent. This could be in the form of a stroke or a heart attack.

Parag Saxena is the CEO of New Silk Route Partners, one of India’s largest Private Equity (PE) funds with a primary focus on India and the Southeast Asia markets. He tells ‘India Global Business’ about the company’s journey since inception in 2006 to becoming a leading Asia-focused growth capital firm with $1.4 billion under management.

How is New Silk Route contributing to the Indian growth story?

New Silk Route was formed with the belief that as India’s GDP per capita grows, the scope to fulfil the basic needs of the country’s large part population will also grow. Our investments have therefore been structured around themes that meet these various needs.

We have a million people graduating every month. If we don’t find good jobs for them, we will turn what the world regards as our demographic dividend into a demographic disaster. Education and skill development is a crucial theme for us.

In our fund right now, we have one of the largest companies in the tutoring business. They tutor children for medical school and engineering entrance examinations. The period that we have been an investor in the company in the last five years or so, they have significantly increased the number of students that they are providing services to – now nearly half a million. And, the company itself is succeeding and is one of the major successes of our portfolio.

Skill development is a very frequently used word but not enough is being done about it.

We have built a strong foundation for women cricketers in India, says Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj.

The captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, which narrowly lost in the World Cup at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London in July, believes her team’s performance has created a strong foundation for the future of women’s cricket in India.

The Indian Prime Minister was on a packed tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France in May/June and has returned with a slew of agreements and promising pacts for the future.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Berlin at the start of his European tour, the term used to describe the visit was the opening of a “new chapter” in the bilateral relations between India and Germany.

The PM set off for his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at her country retreat of Schloss Meseberg soon after landing. Both leaders discussed issues of mutual interest in an informal setting over dinner at the 18th century palace, 50 miles north-west of Berlin.

Tech Mahindra, an Indian software major specialising in digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering, opened its new Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Dublin in January 2017.

The centre, to be operational in the first quarter of calendar year 2017, will be central to Tech Mahindra’s operations in the country and would focus on emerging technologies such as Robotics and Automation, Business Analytics, Cloud Infrastructure and Digital Services. The new centre would employ around 150 engineers over the next three years.

India is a crucial partner for South Africa’s economy which offers enormous trade and investment opportunities, writes an expert from the region.

South Africa and India relations are enjoying an unprecedented renaissance, founded on shared economic interests and longstanding historical ties since the latter lifted economic sanctions against South Africa after the end of apartheid.

Both countries are major players in the global economy and share a common vision of shaping the development agenda through multilateral engagements such as the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) and the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA), and other related platforms.

The US remained among the key destinations for Indian companies on a global expansion spree.

JSW Steel to restart US coal mining

JSW SteelsJSW Steel plans to restart coking coal mining in the US, according to Indian media reports.

JSW Steel owns nine coking coal mines with cumulative resources of 123 million tonnes at West Virginia in the US. These mines, which were acquired from a string of US-based companies in 2010, could not be developed due to a fall in coal prices following global financial crisis and the subsequent economic slowdown. Spot coking coal prices have more than trebled from $90 a tonne to $310 a tonne since July, on the back of strong demand from China and predictions of worst-ever cyclone in Australia.

Seshagiri Rao, Joint Managing Director, JSW Steel, said: “We will restart coking coal mines in the US by March next year and then take up iron ore mining in Chile. We will not bring the coal to India but it will act as a financial hedge as we are largely dependent on imported coal to operate our plants in India.” International coking coal prices have gone up sharply because of Chinese imports.

An investment in Germany is an investment in a country that strives to create and explore opportunities within even the smallest niches, claims Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany, in an attempt to woo more Indian investments.

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Israel in July, not only will he be bringing the otherwise warm relationship between the two countries out of the closet, he will also be marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of formal and full-fledged diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Modi’s visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, also marks the decisive de-hyphening of the relationship with India’s traditional support for the Palestine cause. Modi will not be visiting Palestine to “balance” India’s perceived tilt towards the Jewish state. This is causing angst among India’s chic left-wing ivory tower intellectuals who had, till recently, dictated India’s Middle East policy and aligned it firmly with Palestine’s interests.

Johannesburg is not only the biggest city in South Africa but also considered its vibrant heart. Often referred to as Jo’burg for short, the city has been home to world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu and is also famous as Mahatma Gandhi’s inspiration for Satyagraha.

The Indian Ambassador based in Tel Aviv, Pavan Kapoor, is well-placed to provide some context to Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel in July – the first by an Indian Prime Minister.

Please give us an overview of where Indo-Israel ties stand.

I think India-Israel relations are on a very good wicket, at the political and economic level and also the cultural and people to people level. We have not had this scale of high level contact between the two countries for many years. In the last couple of years, we have had Heads of State visiting from India and Israel and we have had several ministerial delegations on either side.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy of renewing and redefining India’s millennia-old civilisational bonds with the Middle East are bearing concrete fruit in the form of strategic alliances and investments in India’s infrastructure sector.

Mention the Middle East to an Indian and he will immediately associate it with oil, deserts, Dubai and, very possibly, a non-resident relative stationed there. None of the above provides a misleading picture of the region; equally, none of them paints the complete picture either.

Nigeria’s largest and fastest-growing cities is home to many Global Indians. Besides its reputation as a major financial centre and being known as the commercial capital of Nigeria, Lagos also has the distinction of being a historic and lively city.

As the Donald Trump administration begins to deliver on his poll promise of cracking down on the alleged misuse of H1B visas, Indian IT companies are feeling the pinch.

Donald Trump’s election rhetoric is returning to bite the Indian IT sector as policy formulations of the new US administration.

First, here are some updates on the bad news on H1B visas, the visa category mainly used by Indian IT companies to ship Indian IT professionals to the US.

Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to Israel has set the course for core areas of collaboration between the two countries, writes India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa.

Historic, as we said last week, is a much misused word these days, but to describe Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s just concluded visit to Israel in any other way will be to miss the woods for the trees.

That’s because the two countries signed several agreements that can substantially change the lives of long-suffering class of Indians – farmers. It is not without reason that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a marriage made in heaven; it is being celebrated on earth.”

Take the look at the range of the seven agreements signed:

  • Setting up an India-Israel Industrial R&D fund
  • Water conservation
  • Water utility reform in India
  • India-Israel Development Cooperation on Agriculture
  • Cooperation on atomic clocks
  • Setting up a Geo-Leo optical link
  • Cooperation on electric propulsion and small satellites


Notice: three of the seven agreements deal with water and agriculture development signaling that Modi is spending his hard-earned global goodwill on the uplift of Indian farmers.

Many of you may be unaware that significant parts of India are facing a water scarcity. In such a situation, Indian farmers must learn to grow greater amounts of crops using lesser amounts of water.

Israeli agricultural scientists have developed and mastered the science of drip irrigation, which has turned their once arid country – among the driest in the world – into a haven for farmers.

It is this technology that a government-to-government programme is transferring to Indian farmers to enable them to produce “more crop per drop”. The two countries have so far set up 15 Centres of Excellence in Agriculture as part of the India-Israel Agricultural Project, which is a three-way collaboration between the Government of India, the Government of Israel and an Indian state.

It is this collaboration that has enabled Indian farmers develop blooming mango orchards in semi-arid Haryana and thriving vegetable nurseries in the not-so-fertile regions of Gujarat.

These centres are also helping farmers in Bihar grow and improve yields of fruits such as lychee and mango, in Karnataka of pomegranates, mangoes and vegetables and in West Bengal of vegetables by providing seeds developed with the help of the latest agricultural technologies and by imparting knowledge on the best farming techniques, thereby, enabling Indian farmers to increase their incomes and improve their lives.

If the Modi-Netanyahu duo can facilitate this potentially dramatic change for half of India’s population, they will have changed the face of Indian society. Eleven more such centres will be built in future.

Then, an Israeli company will help clean a particularly dirty stretch of the River Yamuna where 8 km of sewage flows into the river and help restore the life of the now dying river.

Prime Minister Modi has promised to double farmer incomes by 2022. A much wider use of these latest Israeli farm technologies and procedures will almost certainly play a big role in helping the government meet that ambitious goal.

The visit also focussed on other core areas of concern to the two countries – such as security from terror and the deep defence relationship.

Here, to my mind are the five key takeaways from Modi’s visit to Israel:
  1. India and Israel agreed to elevate bilateral ties to the level of a strategic partnership, with a special focus on agricultural cooperation.
  2. The two sides agreed to protect each other’s strategic interests.
  3. The two Prime Ministers emphasised the importance of ensuring global peace. “Our talks focused on not just areas of bilateral opportunities but also how our cooperation can help cause of global peace and stability,” Modi said.
  4. Both nations will collaborate on cyber security and exchange knowledge and best practices to tackle terrorism in cyberspace.
  5. The personal chemistry that was evident between Modi and Netanyahu over the three days.


Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

‘India Global Business’ caught up with India’s minister of state for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar, during a recent London visit to attend the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting.

The Commonwealth must become more people-centric and find ways of creating meaning for the citizens of the 52 member countries, India’s minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar believes.

In his message at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), the minister also highlighted India's hope that the organisation will work towards increasing the things it has in common.

Politically and strategically, Israel is India’s most trusted ally in West Asia, writes a political senior columnist.

Twenty-five years ago, in 1992, India and Israel formally established full diplomatic relations and exchanged ambassadors. In 2003, Ariel Sharon, Israel’s prime minister at the time, travelled to India, becoming the first head of government from Tel Aviv to do so. This month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will become the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.

As the number of Indian students coming to study at UK universities continues to register a drop, a new report reveals just what Britain stands to lose.

International students coming to study at UK universities are worth over 25 billion pounds to the British economy, found new research released today.

The latest analysis titled ‘The Economic Impact of International Students’, conducted for representative organisation Universities UK by Oxford Economics, shows that in 2014-15 spending by international students supported 206,600 jobs in university towns and cities across the UK.

India’s historic tax reform is unlikely to impact the scale of smartphone demand in India, a latest German analysis reveals.

The new Goods and Services Tax (GST) will have no impact on the smartphone demand in India, according to latest telecom research by a German research firm.

India holds the key to taking the Commonwealth lead in sustainable solutions for development.

We face an immense global challenge of developing sustainably. We know climate change already contributes to migration and conflict. Some Commonwealth countries are unable to generate the economic growth they badly need to become more resilient. In contrast, India has developed successfully into the world’s seventh largest economy, and third largest by purchasing power parity, hence increasingly a world leader in economic growth.

If defence and security cooperation forms the bedrock of Indo-Israeli ties, then collaboration on agriculture is, without doubt, the second most important sphere of the bilateral relationship. Here is a snapshot of the breadth of the bilateral relationship.

Anuj Rakyan is the founder and Managing Director of Raw Pressery, India’s first cold-pressed juice company. From an idea born out of his kitchen to being on the cusp of taking India’s raw and unprocessed products global, the 37-year-old shares his journey with ‘India Global Business’.

What in your view makes Raw Pressery a start-up success?

While experimenting on creating an honestly healthy beverage, I focused on simplicity and applied the philosophy of All Good, No Bad. The team and I have been driven by this philosophy to bridge the gap between healthy and tasty by making products that we as consumers would choose to buy.

It is time for the Commonwealth to introspect on its role for the 21st century and look at adding new members and acquiring a sharper financial focus.

As a British citizen of Indian origin born in Uganda, I enjoy a triple connection with the Commonwealth. I was therefore drawn towards speaking in a recent debate on the Commonwealth in the House of Lords — almost like a magnetic field.

A leading consultant in the field delves into India’s move towards embracing good corporate governance.

Good corporate governance is becoming a priority across the world. An OECD report to G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in 2015 begins as follows: “Good corporate governance is not an end in itself. It is a means to create market confidence and business integrity, which in turn is essential for companies that need access to equity capital for long-term investment.”

The Commonwealth held a first-of-its-kind trade ministers’ meet recently to inject much-needed vigour into the organisation. The man behind the summit writes exclusively for ‘India Global Business’.

The inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting (CTTM) on 9th March 2017 was an important moment for the Commonwealth. As many as 35 trade ministers from across the world, including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa and the UK, came together not just for the sake of old ties, but to consider how the network can build an “Agenda for Growth” that will challenge economic stagnation and a growing protectionist clamour in global markets.

Two Indian projects made the cut among six worldwide winners of this year’s prestigious Whitley Awards, dubbed the Green Oscars for their celebration of animal and bird conservation in developing countries.

Two Indian activists were singled out for their work in preserving birds and animals in the country’s remote areas and won the annual Whitley Awards.

Indian Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi recently concluded a visit to the UK for the India-UK Home Affairs Dialogue to collaborate on issues such as counter-terrorism.

The India-UK Home Affairs Dialogue was set up during British Prime Minister Theresa May's visit to India last November. The first meeting took place in New Delhi in May and the latest meeting was co-chaired in London in July by Mehrishi with UK Permanent Secretary Philip Rutnam.

The northern part of the United Kingdom is making a strong case for Indian businesses to choose Scotland as a base for their UK expansion plans.

Scotland’s people are famous for the warmth of their welcome. Home to just over five million people, it is estimated that for every person living in Scotland, another five people living across the world have Scottish ancestry. With such close and extensive connections to every corner of the world, it is no wonder that overseas visitors to Scotland are made to feel like they are returning home!

Dr Jyotsna Suri is a stalwart in the Indian hotel industry, who recently expanded her group’s footprint to the UK with The Lalit London. ‘India Global Business’ caught up with this jet-setting Global Indian to get her views on Indian hospitality and its worldwide impact.

Please give your overview on the Indian hotel industry and its growth patterns over recent years.

The Indian hotel industry has been on an upswing in the last few years. The improvement in infrastructure and increase in spending power has resulted in growth of domestic travel as well as influx of inbound travel. Tourism growth has outpaced the GDP growth in the last few years, and this trend is projected to continue.

Tel Aviv is the financial hub of Israel on the Mediterranean coastline. As the country’s tech hub, the city is known for its zest for life and as the place that never sleeps. Narendra Modi will become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit this city in July.

Nicola Sturgeon is the outspoken First Minister of Scotland who has been campaigning for a voice for Scotland in the post-Brexit scenario. Her call for a second referendum on Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom has raised the spectre of a new kind of exit – Scotland’s exit from the UK (Scexit).

Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon is the first woman to become leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and First Minister of Scotland, a post created in 1999 when the Scottish Parliament was reconvened following a referendum in support of devolution from the UK in 1997.

The love for foreign education among upwardly mobile Indians is not new, but with the economy prospering and domestic education not keeping pace with aspirations, it has turned into a near obsession.

Every year, more than 250,000 students venture out of India in search of better education in universities in the US, Europe, South East Asia and Australia. These numbers makes India the country with the highest student mobility in tertiary education after China. It should not necessarily come as a surprise. China and India are by far, the two most populous countries in the world. So the high numbers — over 800,000 Chinese students too try their luck in education outside their country every year — is a factor of demography.

There are seemingly insurmountable hurdles in the path of reinventing the Commonwealth as a multilateral free trade bloc but the potential upsides could make it a proposal worth pursuing.

There is a superstition in some parts of India which posits that inauspicious beginnings beget the best outcomes. If this proposition contains even a grain of empirical truth, then the proposal to reimagine the 52-nation Commonwealth as a 21st century trading bloc couldn’t have got off to a better start.

In the run-up to the Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ Meeting in London in March, an unnamed British official dubbed the discussion in some circles to reimagine the Commonwealth as a trade bloc as “Empire 2.0” – exactly the kind of language that raises the hackles of people in the former colonies.

India is among the major success stories of the ‘BRICS and Emerging Economies University Rankings 2017’, with 27 institutions making the top 300.

The definitive rankings for the emerging economies, compiled annually by ‘Times Higher Education’, reflects India’s efforts to be counted as a viable education hub seem to be paying off.

China is the clear frontrunner with 52 universities in the ‘BRICS and Emerging Economies University Rankings 2017’ but India was credited with making significant strides.

Cyber Security is the protection of information assets, which are highly valuable to an organisation, writes a security expert.

In the early days of the internet, Cyber Security wasn't of importance since most computers linked to the internet were part of academia, where trust played a major role. In addition, traditional networking wasn't secure by design, and did not encompass elements of security.

As the internet grew, organisations started realising the efficiency and productivity the internet brought, and applications and software were developed. The vast repository of information, and ability to cause damage sitting anywhere in the world, led to a proliferation in the number of cyber attacks.

India has historically had close economic ties with the Arabian Peninsula, especially the Gulf region along its eastern shores, writes a banking expert.

The first historically recorded maritime trade route in the world was, in fact, between the Indus Valley civilisation and the civilisation of Dilmun, which was located on the island of Bahrain and the adjacent shore of Saudi Arabia. Goods, including cotton and spices, were acquired by merchants from Dilmun.

The US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord will not have much impact on the fight against global warming as India and others take the lead in embracing renewable energy.

Just as US President Donald Trump’s repudiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership provided Chinese President Xi Jinping the opportunity to present himself as the prime defender of the globalised trading order, the US walkout of the Paris Climate Pact has presented Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the rare chance of presenting India as the leader of the global fight against climate change.

India takes a tough stand on the Trump administration’s visa crackdown.

It’s two steps forward and one step back – once again. We’re talking of Indo-US relations here and the rollercoaster it has been riding on since Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House.

The latest irritant to mark the otherwise warm relationship between the two countries is the tightening of rules for issuing H1B and L1 visas. A new directive issued by the Trump administration recently made it more difficult for such visa holders to apply for renewal by transferring the burden of proof on the applicant when an extension is sought.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in jobs that need expertise that is not easily and readily available in the US. US technology companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Facebook, Google and others hire thousands of foreign professionals every year on this visa.

Indian IT professionals are the biggest recipients and the country’s tech industry is the major beneficiary of these two visa categories. The US accounts for 60 per cent of the Indian IT sector’s annual revenues of about $150 billion. That is why a smooth US visa regime is vitally important for its health.

The US move is in keeping with Donald Trump’s election promise to protect American workers from being replaced by cheaper foreign professionals.

Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has said he will take up the issue of H1B and L1 visas “very strongly” with the US administration and added that US companies and, indeed, the US economy, which benefited immensely from the services of Indian H1B and L1 visa holders, will find it difficult to cope without them.

“We explained to them that we are not raising this issue because Indians will find it difficult to come, because the US economy itself will find it difficult to cope with the reality because the US has immensely benefited by IT professionals penetrating into the market by offering services that has improved their productivity,” he said.

Prabhu has a very strong case. Contrary to popular perception, India’s information technology companies are net job creators in the US and add tremendous value to the US economy.

A report by Nasscom, released in 2015, pointed out that the much-maligned Indian IT sector supported more than 400,000 jobs in the US and contributed more than $20 billion in federal taxes over the previous five years. Another study by the Brookings Institute has also belied the myth that cheaper Indian professionals are snatching jobs from qualified Americans in the US. The study points out that most Indian workers on H1B visas generally earn more than comparable US workers with similar educational qualifications.

Indian tech companies create and protect jobs in the US in the following ways:

  • They provide US businesses with advanced IT services and support, which help US companies maintain their global competitiveness, enter new markets, gain market share and remain profitable
  • Indian companies such Wipro, Infosys, TCS have invested billions of dollars in setting up facilities in the US and created thousands of direct jobs there
  • Indian companies directly employ about 100,000 US citizens and support jobs for three times as many Americans
  • Over the last four years, job creation by India’s information technology companies in the US grew 10 per cent annually, compared to a 1.7 per cent overall job growth in that country.
But rational arguments often get drowned out in the din of political rhetoric. And that is precisely what is happening. Even as the Indian government takes up the issue with the US administration, the visa imbroglio should serve as a wake-up call to India and its IT sector.

Worryingly, a substantial portion of its revenues still come from relatively lower end work, which give steady margins, but which can no longer generate high levels of growth. And despite their best efforts, these companies have failed to move up the software services value chain.

It may also be time for the Indian IT sector to set its own house in order and secure its future.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

The comprehensive strategic partnership between New Delhi and Hanoi is playing an important role in ensuring balance of power in Asia

Rarely, if ever, does India weigh heavily on the minds of foreign leaders when they meet their counterparts from third countries. But when Chinese President Xi Jinping recently met Communist Party of Vietnam’s General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Beijing, seasoned observers could sense that New Delhi was the invisible elephant in the room.

US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Accord may be a chance for India to shine, writes an energy expert.

Trump’s pullout from the Paris Accord on climate change has brought India to the fore. Two claims are especially puzzling. One, the treaty lets India (and China) not do much till 2030, and that India is looking for developed countries to pay them $2.5 trillion for its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). India’s NDC calculations were taken with their own calculations, and have very little to do with the US (or any other country).

The British General Election of 2017 was intended to provide stability and certainty, but it did not go according to plan.

Theresa May asked the country for a resounding personal mandate to strengthen her in the Brexit negotiations – but the public refused it, confounding expectations of a clear Conservative victory in this early General Election.

An industry expert explains the significance of Project exports to India’s growth agenda.

Project is an engineering venture or mission: a scheme of development work to be executed by employing the best technologies, continuous innovation and resources – human, financial and physical to create a capital asset. As technology advances, projects tend to move up in sector size as well as technological sophistication in the value-chain.

Project Exports, in essence, connotes setting up of projects overseas as construction and/or engineering projects. It could also involve the export of engineering consultancy or other engineering services as desired by the project owner. In simple terms, export of engineering goods/services on deferred payment terms which lead to execution of turnkey projects including civil construction works abroad are collectively referred to as Project Exports.

Outbound FDI from India will increasingly be driven by a need to fill knowledge and product gaps aimed at the domestic market.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has greased the wheels of the investment cycle with allocations of almost $90 billion for building roads, railway infrastructure, inland waterways, ports, airports and rural infrastructure for 2017-18. This massive public spending spree, marking a humungous increase over the figures for the current year, is expected to translate into large contracts for Indian and foreign companies.

When politicians misjudge the public mood and gamble, the end result can be politically catastrophic. In that sense, the UK election results are nothing short of a political earthquake – the second one to hit the UK in 10 months.

Just as David Cameron had misread the public mood in Britain when he called for the Brexit vote, Theresa May’s decision to go back to the people a full three years before her term as Her Majesty’s First Minister was to expire has also proved to be a grave political miscalculation.

India’s strong economic fundamentals, low inflation and interest rates on a declining trend are ideal for bond investors, writes a financial markets expert.

London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official business development company, has long been focusing on attracting inward investments into London, which is arguably the cultural and business capital of the world. This initiative, which started well before Brexit, sought to reinforce London as the gateway between America and Asia. It could become very important for London if it loses access to the Passport to European Financial after the UK exits the European Union (EU).

Donald Trump and his fellow travellers in Europe are doing their countries a disservice by recklessly pulling up the drawbridge on immigration.

Everyone knows that whenever their fortresses and castles came under siege, kings of old would pass the order to pull up the drawbridges and every able man would take up position to repel the invaders. And most of you will be familiar with the story of Don Quixote, the fictional medieval Spanish nobleman, who attacked windmills under the delusion that they were dangerous enemies.

Combine these two narratives and you get a very disturbing picture of the present and the future.

An assertive China presents Prime Minister Modi with his most intractable foreign policy challenge, but there are indications that Beijing may be getting a little edgy.

China considered itself to be a rival of the US. In its world view, India was a regional player, at best the first among equals in South Asia.

David vs Goliath

In absolute terms, there is some merit in this argument. China’s $11.4-trillion economy, the world’s second largest, is five times India’s, which is world’s sixth largest, with a GDP of $2.3 trillion in 2016.

Last year, China’s per capita income, at $8,260, was five times the comparable figure of $1,718 for India. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of goods, its biggest trading nation and its military budget, at $131 billion is more than three times larger than India’s annual defence spending of $40 billion.

Indian project exports are gradually gaining scale by winning increasingly bigger contracts with a little help from the Indian government.

When spectators troop in to watch the likes of Lionel Messi match his skills against Neymar in the 2022 World Cup Football tournament in Qatar, India will have an unseen presence in the 40,000-seat Al Rayan Stadium.

A Reuters report recently said Indian contractor Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has won the $135-million contract, through a joint venture, to build the stadium that will host some important matches for the 2022 football World Cup.

India’s Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley, just completed a packed tour of the UK during which Prime Minister Theresa May dropped in to a Downing Street meeting with his British counterpart, Chancellor Philip Hammond. ‘India Investment Journal’ caught up with the senior Indian Cabinet minister in London to explore his message for foreign investors, a possible free trade agreement (FTA) with post-Brexit Britain and the next phase of his dramatic reform agenda for the Indian economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has struck a delicate balance of engaging with China where there is mutual benefit and standing up to the South Asian neighbour where India’s strategic interests demand.

Dealing with China is arguably Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most daunting foreign policy challenge. That’s because it is difficult to fit the Middle Kingdom into any of the comfortable stereotypes that Indian diplomats have got used to.

A foreign policy observer believes it is time for India to move towards a more flexible approach towards China.

It has been suggested that New Delhi’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was an “extraordinary exercise in realpolitik”, that the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi “is not easily rattled by disapproving noises at home or abroad”. One analyst referring to China’s opposition put it rather colourfully that Beijing behaved “not as an enlightened power but as a strategic small-timer, with the petty, perfidious and short-termist mindset of a Pyongyang dictator or a Rawalpindi general”.

The Government of India’s Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has been making its global mark across the UK, Canada and South-East Asia with its unique business model.

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), under the administration of Ministry of Power, government of India, is working towards mainstreaming energy efficiency and is implementing the world’s largest energy efficiency portfolio (worth £5.6bn over a period of three years). As of now, EESL has explored opportunities and commenced establishment of operations in the UK, Canada, South Asia and South-East Asia.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a consistent presence on definitive global lists as one of the world’s most powerful women. As the Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited, she is a trendsetter in the field of biotechnology in India. Here she takes time out for ‘India Global Business’ to give us an insight into her entrepreneurial drive and India’s own biotech journey.

A US Federal Reserve report forecasts that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has the potential to hike India’s GDP by nearly $100 billion.

The US Federal Reserve has confirmed what many people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, have been saying for a long time.

Countering nay-sayers, they have maintained that the Goods & Services Tax (GST), which will come into force from July 1 this year, will push India into a higher growth trajectory and improve India’s GDP growth rate to 8 per cent and beyond.

Now, an International Financial Discussion Paper (IFDP) at the US Federal Reserve (FED) has calculated that the rollout of GST could increase India’s GDP by Rs 6.5 lakh crore ($100 billion) or 4.2 per cent. It did not mention the time frame by which this will be achieved. The additional output is almost double the government’s borrowing programme of Rs 3.48 lakh crore ($54 billion) for the current financial year.

Just days after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th US President, there is much upheaval around his series of unilateral executive orders. There is yet another draft reportedly awaiting his signature, which could hit Indian professionals hard.

American billionaire Donald J. Trump marked his first days in the Oval Office in characteristic style by signing some of the most controversial executive orders in history.

The suspension of the US refugee programme for 120 days and a cap on 2017 numbers came alongside a ban on anyone arriving from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The instant effect was felt at airports in the US and around the world, as people were stopped from boarding US-bound flights or held when they landed in the US.

India's distinct model of globalisation is pegged on its commitment to greener growth economics.

Our cover in this issue featuring Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani cuddling a koala bear is an ode to India's distinct globalisation and development model. While it takes inspiration from the cover story on Adani’s $16.5-billion Carmichael coal mine-railroad-and-port project in Queensland, it also seeks to encapsulate the essence of Indo-Australian relations.

India and Australia have now moved beyond the traditional three Cs that characterised the relationship in the past – cricket, curry and Commonwealth. Although these three remain important markers of bilateral ties between the two nations, the clinch has grown tighter and now includes in its remit a much wider range of issues – trade, tourism, education, geo-strategy, energy security and a lot more.

Currently, Indian investments in Australia are touching the $12-billion mark, with an increasing number of Indian companies looking at Australia as an investment destination – a sign, perhaps, of the emerging Asian century. Much like the bond of friendship and support symbolised by the proverbial cuddle, India has in its dealings practiced building mutually sympathetic relationships as opposed to the slow strangle practiced by some of its rivals in their outbound FDI strategies. The cover theme thus seeks to capture this embracing quality of India’s foreign investment strategy based on values of cooperation, mutual respect and collaboration.

But why Australia? And why now?

India is Australia’s ninth-largest source of inbound tourists, with arrivals touching 260,000 in 2016, an increase of 11.3 per cent over the previous year. The forecast is for almost 500,000 Indian tourists to visit Australia in seven years. And here’s some trivia that I’m sure can liven up many an evening: Punjabi is the fastest-growing language in Australia and Hinduism the fastest-growing religion.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to India last April delivered a range of outcomes in the knowledge, trade and strategic partnership spheres. Most important, he reassured India – after flip-flops on the issue by earlier Australian regimes – about uranium supplies that are key to India’s economic, energy and strategic concerns.

Also, India is Australia’s 10th-largest trading partner and that country is the second-most popular destination for Indian students – 60,000 Indians have gone to study in Australia in 2017 (till the end of August).

Despite the growing trade, strategic and people-to-people ties, however, serious challenges exist. India’s quest for resource and energy partnerships worldwide – primarily for raw materials such as coal and strategic minerals like uranium – means that the relationship with Australia will remain hostage to lobbies such as the ones opposing the Adani Group’s Carmichael project and those that are against the spread of nuclear energy.

Australian celebrities, such as cricketers Ian and Greg Chappel, joining the chorus against India’s largest outbound FDI deal – which is key to India’s energy security – skews the pitch a little more than expected. India has consistently honoured PM Modi's commitment to greener growth economics at home and abroad and even provided global leadership in the area with the International Solar Alliance (ISA). A fact that has been ignored within the protest narrative around the Carmichael project. I am hopeful, however, that eventually both – India's commitment to greener growth and the potential benefits to both Australia and India – will trump the naysayers in the end.

The India-Australia bilateral relationship may teeter on the brink at times – as the potential failure of the Adani investment to materialise may portend. I am confident, however, that this relationship has now attained a level of depth, breadth and maturity.

On a broader canvas, we have placed Adani’s Carmichael project in the context of India’s worldwide hunt for resources. Indian companies are scouring the farthest corners of the earth for raw materials and energy sources to feed its hungry factories back home. In that sense, India is following in the trajectory of Europe, the US and, most recently, China.

But there is one key difference in India’s approach – and our cover theme of a “koala cuddle” tells that story quite eloquently.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

From a silent film set to the tunes of the sitar at the Taj Mahal to a travelling exhibition celebrating Indian achievements in science, this year promises to take India-UK cultural collaboration to a whole new level.

The Taj Mahal will form the backdrop of a rare screening of a silent film set to live music by sitar maestro Anoushka Shankar as part of a wide range of celebrations to mark UK India Year of Culture 2017.

A US-based academic analyses how the Indian IT industry is coping with an intensifying squeeze on HI-B visas.

In recent months, the US government has been exerting pressure to curb the H-1B visa programme for companies that rely on them and is stressing the importance behind its Hire America policies. The H-1B programme has come under severe scrutiny, much to the concern of its biggest benefactors: Indian tech companies. Indian firms, however, are trying to adapt.

One of India’s leading international businessmen traces the factors behind India’s natural instinct towards going global.

The question isn’t whether India can turn global; it is how quickly will India be accepted among the leading nations in the world.

Global trade and business is not new for India. The past is replete with examples of India’s contribution to world trade; in fact, India actually taught the world how to trade, be it spices or fibres or cotton yarn. In the year when the British came into India – India as a single entity accounted for 21 per cent of world trade. Great Britain was then doing one per cent of world trade. In 1947, when it left India, Britain was doing 21 per cent world trade and India made up 1 per cent!

The Europe chief of the world's largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions worldwide gives his insight on the India-UK travel landscape.

As we celebrate 2017 as the UK-India Year of Culture alongside the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, travel between the UK and India is thriving like never before. Britain is the largest G20 investor in India – with a total inflow of $23.12 billion, while India invests more in the UK than it does in the rest of the European Union (EU) combined. There are over 100 flights from India to Britain a week, with over 30,000 seats capacity. Such powerful and deep links between the two countries make smooth, seamless and simple travel essential.

S. Thangapandian, Chief Executive Officer of Essar Oil UK, takes time out for ‘India Global Business’ to explain why the company is investing heavily in its Stanlow Refinery in Britain and the story behind turning a loss-making unit into a promising asset.

What are the company's investment plans for the UK?

Essar Oil (UK) Ltd, which owns and operates the Stanlow Refinery, will be investing further $250 million in the refinery. We have already invested over $800 million to turn around the business since we acquired the Stanlow refinery. This reaffirms the group’s commitments to stay invested in core sectors. These investments will ramp up the throughput from 68 million bpd to 75 million bpd.

Investment will also deliver enhanced yields of high value products, reduce crude costs and drive revenue growth.

Steadfast support from the public at large is likely to see Adani's $16.1-billion mining project, India’s largest outbound FDI, through the hurdles.

There appears to be some sort of jinx revolving around projects carrying the twin labels of “largest FDI” and “India." Remember Dabhol?

The power project by the now bankrupt US company Enron in Maharashtra was the largest inward foreign direct investment (FDI) project at the time. After several false starts, it is finally limping along as the Ratnagiri Power Company, in its latest, public sector avatar.

‘Winning Partnership’ edited by Manoj Ladwa, takes a fresh 360 degree look at a 400-year-old relationship and comes up with several interesting suggestions for keeping it relevant in the 21st century.

What can you say after everything has already been said? Not much, right? Wrong.

With so much literature on UK’s relationship with the former jewel in its crown, it takes a very intrepid intellectual to gather all his bravery to attempt to shed new light on the subject.

Resource-poor but demand-rich Indian companies are prospecting and mining natural resources such as coal, oil & gas and other minerals at locations as far apart as Indonesia, Africa, Australia and the US to feed their factories back home.

Here’s a trivia question: Which Indian company has a presence, in one form or another, in Audi, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Ferrari, Jaguar and Hyundai cars?

Don’t let the presence of Jaguar on that list fool you. The answer is not Tata. It is that other name that is often taken in the same breath as the Tatas in India – Birla… or, to be more precise, the Aditya Birla group-owned aluminium company Novelis.

‘India Global Business’ analyses UK-India relations and identifies key areas of cooperation that the two countries must build upon and key areas of divergence that they must bridge in order to fulfil the potential of the relationship.

The potential of the relationship is massive, but India and the UK are barely scratching the surface. The optimism that the two countries would sign a trade deal in the immediate aftermath of Brexit and signal closer all round ties has waned considerably but leaders and analysts on both sides remain confident about the future.

Dr B.R. Shetty is the Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of the Abu Dhabi based NMC Healthcare and Chairman of UAE Exchange, which most recently hit the headlines for its acquisition of forex major Travelex. The Karnataka-born and UAE-based entrepreneur opens up to ‘India Global Business’ on his journey, his inspirations and future plans.

What makes the UAE a good base for your enterprises?

In the last four decades, I have learnt so much about different cultures, made many Emirati friends and have realised that there is no place like the UAE to conduct business in.

I have got so many perspectives on life, learnt so much about world cultures that it has rounded me as a human being and a successful businessman. In the early Seventies, I came searching for a job and today, under the patronage of the royal family, I have 50,000 employees and a multi-billion-dollar empire spanning the globe.

With an open economy that has one of the world’s highest per capita income, with a sizeable annual trade surplus, the UAE has undergone an unprecedented transformation into a modern state with a high standard of living.

Some of the remarkable reasons for doing business in the UAE are: corporate tax and personal taxes are almost nil, import duties in the UAE are very low, there are Double Taxation Agreements, Free Trade Agreements and then there is a strong and competitive economy with a world-class infrastructure.

India Inc. has envisioned its first-ever Go Global Expo & Conference 2017 as a hub for Indian companies on a decisive global expansion march as well as new start-ups ready for the leap. Here ‘India Global Business’ delves into the high-profile launch of the event in New Delhi.

There was a time barely two centuries ago, when India accounted for 21 per cent of global trade and Great Britain barely 1 per cent. At the height of the British Empire, this relative ratio had been turned on its head, with the United Kingdom as the most dominant trading nation in the world with more than a one-fifth share of world trade and India reduced to a peripheral player with only a 1 per cent share.

The Netherlands, Singapore and Mauritius have emerged as leading destinations for outbound Indian FDI. The attractions are benign tax laws, ease of doing business, easy access to international markets and robust regulatory frameworks.

The two top destinations for outward foreign direct investments (FDI) from India are Mauritius and Singapore. Three more tax havens – Jersey, Switzerland and British Virgin Islands – also figure in the list of Top 10 outward destinations. These jurisdictions are obviously bases from which the investments are routed to their ultimate destinations where actual physical assets and IPRs are located.

Now that Mrs May has triggered formal divorce proceedings with the EU, India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa explains how the UK could learn a lesson or two from the Japanese on getting up close to Modi's India.

The late Sir James Goldsmith, the billionaire financier who spent a considerable part of his personal fortune on a campaign to force Great Britain out of the European Union, once famously said: “When a man marries his mistress, he creates a job vacancy.”

Pankaj Lal was among a handful of scientists to be honoured by outgoing US President Barack Obama with the Presidential Award. ‘India Global Business’ caught up with him to trace what led to this prestigious achievement and what being a Global Indian means to him.

What does an honour like the Presidential Award mean to you?

I am honoured and excited to receive this prestigious award. It’s always exciting for your peers to see the significant value in our work and for federal agencies to invest resources for this. This said, sharing the success with family, friends and students is the greatest reward.

Harnessing science for social good and developing sustainable energy and managing natural resources well are some of the grand challenges facing modern society, and I feel satisfied that that our work is contributing a bit towards improved understanding of this area. This award is a testament that hard work will be rewarded at the opportune moment, and will continue to keep me striving for more in the future.

Captain Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab, has launched a new ‘Connect With Your Roots’ scheme for young Global Indians to gain first-hand experience of the state.

Captain Amarinder Singh used the UK as the base to kick-start his dream project for Punjabi-origin students based overseas to reconnect with their roots in their ancestral land and interact with their counterparts in Punjabi universities.

A Dealmaker for the British government does some tough-talking to explain the secret behind clinching a good deal.

For the past decade as the UK government’s Dealmaker within UKTI’s [UK Trade and Investment] Global Entrepreneur Programme, I have been responsible for bringing the most innovative young companies from India, China and South East Asia to the UK. I have had an unusual insight into what help they need, and a lot of success in helping them do it, so I’ve put together some of my thoughts for those of you looking to make UK connections and secure that expansion deal.

After years of gradually creeping up the worldwide charts of higher education, India suffered a small setback in the latest ranking.

India’s performance in world university rankings has registered a decline, with its share of universities falling from 31 to 30 in the global 1,000 list topped by the University of Oxford and Cambridge, according to latest data released recently.

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