The 42-year-old said that instead of the usual references to India as a slow-moving elephant, a far more apt comparison would be to a complex beehive.
Its complexity, he said, gives India the edge over China, and should be used to drive growth.
"India is complex. China is simple. And that is why India can't give simple answers when the West and other investors demand them," he said. (Watch | Rate the speech)
Mr Gandhi, who is second in the party's hierarchy after his mother, Sonia, was addressing the annual meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
As the government tries to reverse an economic slowdown and ballooning budget deficit, Mr Gandhi told business leaders "inclusive growth is win-win for everybody...we have to carry the poor and weak with us." (Don't give power to one person, give it to a billion: Rahul Gandhi)
Though he was clear on what the country needs- better education, infrastructure and a reconfigured political system that shares power with grassroots workers, he was circumspect about his own ambitions as the country heads towards national elections and the Congress seeks a third consecutive term.
"Whether I will become prime minister, this an irrelevant question -- it's all smoke," he said, adding that his goal was to "help one billion people find their voices".(Read)