Analysis: Why The World Is Interested In India

The India story in Davos was not restricted to talk on its economic potential. Key to the India pitch was the spotlight on inclusivity and diversity

Analysis: Why The World Is Interested In India
Davos:

It has been India's year on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with genuine global interest in the India growth story, a clear outlier to the overall state of global growth.

'We think the Indian economy can end up like a $10 trillion economy, may be in a decade,'' says Borge Brende, the President of the World Economic Forum. ''India is well-positioned in the areas where demand is growing fast. India is capitalising on this.''

Backed by a strong pitch from three Union Ministers - Hardeep Puri, Smriti Irani and Ashwini Vaishnaw - the message here has been clear. 'Come talk to us,' understand the basis of India's strong macro-economic fundamentals and the opportunities that exist, from the digital public infrastructure landscape and the growing startup ecosystem to the expanding energy sector, emerging technologies and the focus on sustainability.

''Everyone is asking about India. Folks who are in India are asking 'how do we expand more,' folks who are not in India, including a very large number of global CEOs who I met, have India on the top of their mind,'' says Dr Anish Shah, Managing Director, Mahindra.

The Promenade in Davos, the main thoroughfare in this Swiss ski resort, has been a mini-India this year, with top Indian corporates, Invest India, the Confederation of Indian Industry and three state governments renting prime space across multiple pavilions that line both sides of the Promenade.

Significantly, four states - Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu - have had a robust presence in Davos with several key ministers engaging with potential investors. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was here to sell his state as an investment destination.

''India has been crucial to IBM's success so far and it is going to continue to play an even more important part in our expansion, not only in the AI world, but in all of our other businesses and the consulting business,'' says Gary Cohn, the Vice Chairman of IBM, who was Chief Economic Advisor to former US President Donald Trump.

The India story in Davos was not restricted to talk on its economic potential. Key to the India pitch was the spotlight on inclusivity and diversity. With an independent lounge at the Davos Promenade, Smriti Irani, the Women and Child Development Minister, focused on India's transition to women-led development. Women in India, she told NDTV, had become a ''fulcrum for growth". ''Revolution is not only at the top, where stand-ups and start-ups have created an ecosystem of enterprise. The revolution at the grassroots is exponential,'' she said.

Last month, the Asian Development Bank projected India's growth rate at 6.7% through March 2024. This outpaces major economies including China which is growing at 5.2% for the calendar year.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das projected an even higher growth rate. "Global growth and individual country growth have slowed down. In the middle of all this, India is recording 7% plus growth. There is lot of interest about fintechs, the technology sector and how the start-ups are doing in India,'' Dr Das told NDTV.

For long-time observers of India, this is a key moment to seize. Backed by the demographic dividend of a young population, India anticipates a spurt in economic activities and growth.

S4 Capital's Sir Martin Sorrell says he is optimistic about India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Modi is not just a great Prime Minister. He is the Chief Brand Officer of India. I think he will be relected and the reason why India is such a focus [in Davos] is the Indian economy which is bigger than the UK. It's growth.''

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