NEW DELHI: Investors across the spectrum expressed faith in the ability of the Narendra Modi to undertake the necessary reforms required for India to revive growth and re-emerge as an investment destination of choice.
“I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and glad to find that he and our companies have same ideas about the development. Modi has taken many initiatives and that will improve the sentiments for investors like us who can restart looking at India,” said Yorihiko Kojima, chairman of Mitsubishi Corporation and co-chair of the India Economic Summit, held by the World Economic Forum and CII in the capital. Mitsubishi has already invested $300 million in 20 projects in India and Kojima said that there is potential to increase this manifold in the areas of infrastructure, food processing and natural resources.
Though the organisers had claimed there will be 400 foreign investors, the turnout seemed much lower, with prominent delegates like Etihad Airways president and CEO James Hogan not attending, among others.
William Danvers, Deputy Secretary General, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development stated that there is a need for the government to undertake a clear and consistent communication strategy to share the economic reform measures that it is undertaking with the electorate. At the same time, Danvers urged people to be patient till policy reforms take hold.
Nestle South Asia head Etienne Benet said that the new government is filling the gaps India faced. “I am extremely confident by nature. I don’t want to comment politically but in general a country needs leadership and (now) there is a leadership,” Benet said. “There needs to be a direction and now there is a direction. It needs confidence and there is a lot of confidence. Now it is upto all of us to do something and we will play our role,” the Nestle boss said. Domestic financiers like Uday Kotak, executive vice chairperson and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank said that the government is off to a good start, but he would prefer a marathon instead of a sprint.
“India is back on track and great story is unfolding…I see the Indian economy picking up in 2015. India is expected to grow at an average of 6.5% per annum for next five years,” said Kotak. Country heads of multinational corporations said the tide had turned in favour of India, but it will take time to convince global headquarters to start cutting cheques for fresh investments.