#Putting it in context, #August 2017

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

#August 2017, #Middle East

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.

#August 2017, #Other Highlights

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.

#June 2017, #Emerging Markets

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.

#June 2017, #Emerging Markets

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.

#June 2017, #India-UK

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.

#February 2017, #India & China

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.

#February 2017, #Go Global

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!

#February 2017, #Diplomat Corner

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.

#February 2017, #UK/EUROPE

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.