#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, #Last Word

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.

#Cover Feature/Auto, #August 2017

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.

#June 2017, #Hot Spot

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.

#Cover Story, #June 2017

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.

#INDIA-UK, #Special Edition – May 2017

‘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.

#February 2017, #Sector Focus/Pharma

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.

#February 2017, #Sector Focus/Pharma

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.

#Putting it in Context, #2016, #Yearend 2016

The year that began with lots of hope is drawing to a close on a note of concern and some cautious optimism. In between, there was shock, some not so pleasant surprises and renewed promise of a better future. It’s always a huge risk to pre-judge history but I think I’ll still go out on a limb and declare that when the definitive history of globalisation is written, 2016 will stand out as the year in which the idea of the flat world, the global village and the credo of freer and fairer markets and open borders (for trade in goods at least) suffered several body blows.

#India-EU, #July/August 2016, #Trade Wars, #2016, #Special Edition - November 2016

A free trade agreement between India and the European Union (EU) has already been nine years in the making and the pro-Brexit vote in the UK to exit the economic bloc is unlikely to come as a fillip.

Negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) have been in the works since 2007. Neither side has been willing to give up on key concerns. For India, these include easier access for its …