#Putting it in context, #2017, #October 2017

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

#COVER FEATURE, #October 2017

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.

#COVER FEATURE, #October 2017

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.

#COVER FEATURE, #October 2017

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.

#October 2017, #More from this edition

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.

#2017, #October 2017, #More from this edition

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.

#2017, #October 2017, #COUNTRY FOCUS/Australia

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.

#October 2017, #COUNTRY FOCUS/Australia

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.

#SECTOR FOCUS/Finance, #2017, #October 2017

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.

#SECTOR FOCUS/Finance, #October 2017

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.