Cisco’s celebrated Executive Chairman John Chambers seemed unstoppable in his praise for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lauding his strategic leadership and digital vision in some detail. John Chambers, on a visit to the country as the head of the US India Business Council (USIBC), said in an interview to CNBC TV18 that while he has always loved India, he also believes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and strategy.
“The reason I have been so bullish on India is that I always believed India had the potential… Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, India has become a fast innovator,” John Chambers said to CNBC TV18. “I am a huge believer in him,” he said referring to Narendra Modi, adding that the Prime Minister has the ability to “outline hope for people… then he says why this is possible, and then even probable.”
John Chambers lauded Narendra Modi’s vision for making India a digital economy, calling it the model for the world. “In his vision for India and digital India, I completely agree with, and it is the model for the world… very similar to what’s done in France and Israel. They are already transforming their countries as well,” he said.
John Chambers likened the US-India strategic partnership to Internet and digital transformations, which has the powers to revolutionise the world. He said that Strategic partnership between Indian and the US is unlike anything that has ever been done before between any countries. “It’s a partnership that’s based on not trade, but economic growth, job creation, innovation, inclusion of the citizens, entrepreneurship, and how you bring together hundreds of businesses from both the countries, government leaders and citizens, to really move at speeds that’s not been done before,” he said.
However, John Chambers also sounded a note of caution on the impact of automation on jobs, saying that automation may take away 20-40% jobs in coming years. If the world keeps on doing work like it is now, then automation will destroy jobs, he said. While there are many areas of importance, India must focus on startups, John Chambers said, adding that he looks for startups that have “differentiating capacities”. The next economic opportunity will be in taking digitisation to its full capacity, he said, adding that privatisation is the key.