Sunil Bharti Mittal is an Indian entrepreneur, philanthropist and the founder and chairperson of Bharti Enterprises, which owns Bharti Airtel amongst other diversified interestsThe company operates in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan.He was also elected as Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce.
Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a visionary and statesman is a leader deeply connected with the hopes and aspirations of a new emerging India. It is therefore no surprise that under his leadership, India has witnessed a tremendous transformation – in the social, economic and foreign policy spheres.
The Indian economy steered by PM Modi, has made significant strides on global charts- India is now the 5th largest economy in the world in terms of GDP size, well on its way to become a US$5 trn economy. Over the last few years, India has achieved good progress on critical parameters such as Global Innovation and Ease of Doing Business. The Global Innovation Index ranked India at the 48th position in 2020, an improvement of 18 positions since 2013. Continuous improvement in the Ease of Doing Business rankings from 134 in 2014 to the 63rd position in 2020 is a clear reflection of PM Modi’s determination to make India a global manufacturing hub under the ambitious Make in India programme. Various reforms at the macro and micro level have been introduced to facilitate domestic as well as foreign investors to make in India, for India and the world.
The Government of India’s flagship Digital India initiative, set the pace of economic growth and digital economy. During my tenure as the Chair of GSMA, Digital India accelerated establishment of the ecosystem for growth of Digital economy. India now has the fourth largest ICT sector in the world with potential to attain US$ 1 trn of economic value of digital economy by 2025. The success of this digital transformation was clearly demonstrated when seamless connectivity to businesses during the recent COVID-19 lockdown ensured continuity of operations across several sectors.
The country has also become an attractive FDI destination as FDI stood at US$ 62 bn in the FY2018-19, and at around US$ 60 bn in FY2017-18 and FY2016-17 indicating the immense faith of the international business on the future of India. It is this belief and sentiment which is leading global businesses, to expand their supply chains in India at a time when the global manufacturing facilities are shifting from China and looking at alternate countries.
The timely intervention by the government at the onset of pandemic helped India in preparing adequate infrastructure for dealing with the crisis and also save lives of millions from the virus. The launch of Aatmanirbhar Bharat is expected to bolster economic growth in the challenging pandemic era and accelerate economic self-reliance through local production. The initiative is expected to further enhance India’s participation in the diversification of global supply chains.
India’s commitment towards multilateralism and rule-based approach received a new impetus under PM Modi, which I closely observed during my tenure as Chairman of ICC- the world’s business organization which works very closely with UN, G20 and other multilateral organizations such as the WTO.
PM Modi’s strategy and vision for India to have a seat on highest table of world affairs was evident in his deep understanding of the role leading global think tanks play in furthering the country’s image and agenda. His first major policy speech at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) where I am serving on the Global Board of Advisors, shortly after assuming office in 2014, not only set the pace for a new direction between India and the US but also firmly laid the principles of renewed thrust in India’s foreign policy outreach.
His first public engagement after assuming the charge as the PM of India was an event in New Delhi to release a book written by Ashely Tellis of Carnegie Endowment of International Peace (CEIP), a premier global policy think tank of which I am a trustee. The legacy of PM Modi in foreign affairs will be etched in history as one of India’s most pro-active outreach to the global community and the overseas Indian diaspora.
His astute understanding of International Relations combined with his personal camaraderie with global leaders has helped India forge strategic partnerships with all major powers including US, UK, Japan, France, Israel and the Middle East. India’s recent appointment at the United Nation’s Security Council as a Non-Permanent Member for 2 years, unopposed is a testimony of India’s growing global stature.
Our PM’s vision for the country, his steadfast integrity and determination to serve the nation has truly inspired every citizen of the country today. On his 70th Birthday, I wish him greater success, good health and complete support of the Indian Industry in helping India achieve its rightful place in comity of nations. His efforts for propelling progress, harmony and integrated development of the Indian economy will lead to a ‘Naya Bharat’ – an India which is able to fulfill the hopes and aspiration of all its citizens and contribute to a better world.