Pitching for a nuanced message here at WEF to present India as an open economy which cares for interest of domestic as well as global audience, eminent banker Uday Kotak today said the country needs to position itself as a statesman and not just a salesman. Kotak, who has been attending World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in this Swiss ski resort town for many years, said it is a very big opportunity for the country to demonstrate the new India that is being built. “Also, we must understand that following our Prime Minister, US President Donald Trump is also coming to Davos with his ‘America First’ policy and he is coming after cutting corporate tax rates and after making big corporates bring back jobs and profits to America,” Kotak told PTI in an interview. “Therefore, we need to get our messaging right when Trump is likely to talk about how Americans are making America great again. So India needs to say here that we are welcoming the world and we are building a new India,” he said. Kotak, who set up one of India’s most successful new age banks and has been expanding it into a major financial sector conglomerate including through acquisitions, said Davos is a big opportunity for India this year and “India needs to position itself in a statesman position and not in a salesman position here”. Referring to Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s opening plenary address last year at Davos, he said, China took a position last year that it was an open platform for the world economy.
America is now championing America First, so India needs to position itself uniquely, he said. “We need to tell the world we are an open economy but at the same time India has aspirations to build a new India. We need to articulate that we need the world’s investments but at the terms that make sense to us and to everybody else,” he said on expectations from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s opening plenary here tomorrow. “We need to give a message that is nuanced between where Trump is likely to position himself and where China positioned itself last year.
“India is no longer a salesman to the world and we need to position ourselves as the statesman now,” he said. Kotak said the government leaders and CEOs from India need to brand and market the country’s great story at Davos while understanding the subtle difference between sales and marketing. “I’m sure our prime minister is the best person in presenting a great branding of India and in marketing our success story,” he said.