India’s century has begun

The growth of India’s stature is closely tied to that of Modi’s—and this is a good thing for the future of its 1.4 billion people.

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The world’s view of India has completely changed from what it was over a decade ago.

By Pawan Munjal, Chairman and CEO, Hero MotoCorp

As we entered the month of March a few days ago, I could not help but be reminded of the fateful incidents that we encountered during this month in 2020 and 2021. In March 2020, India was gearing up to ‘brace for impact’ as the coronavirus pandemic started to spread across the country. Towards the end of March 2021, the country was yet again caught in grips of the virus, this time a deadlier second wave! 

Today, after enduring an unusually hot February, India is in the grips of another wave; however, this one is of a happier sentiment. India is shining with the G20 Presidency, an upbeat GDP forecast, and the aspirations of nearly a billion young citizens. Not many had expected India to come out of the pandemic with such fervour, given how many mature global economies struggled.

In fact, the developed nations now wish to know how India developed not one but two coronavirus vaccines, carried out the world’s largest vaccination programme in a record time, and exported 40 crore vaccine doses to 100 countries around the world.

Since the decisive mandate of 2014, India, under the leadership of prime minister Narendra Modi, has witnessed numerous developments that reflect the country’s current image of a strong nation with independent standing.

The world’s view of India has completely changed from what it was over a decade ago. Thanks to the growing stature and ever-expanding global footprint of Hero MotoCorp, I have been a regular visitor to various countries across the world. From making introductions at the door to now being welcomed warmly, I have personally experienced the growing Indian clout and the value of our association.

India’s external relations have never been as strong as they are today. Under the current regime, India is an equal partner with the US as well as Russia. Similarly, India engages with both Israel and Palestine, and similar is the case with Iran and Saudi Arabia. The guiding principle of PM Modi’s foreign policy has been ‘India First’ where the interests of the country and its citizens are safeguarded.

India’s presence globally as an important voice is underlined by the fact that more and more countries now support our rightful position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. While India, for the first time, is hosting the prestigious G20 Summit this year, our growing role in the G7, SCO and other similar global forums underlines how the world increasingly sees India as a key ally.

India has also emerged as a major contributor towards development and peace initiatives in the SAARC region. It is playing a significant role in the rebuilding of Afghanistan and has always helped its neighbours, be it earthquake-relief in Nepal or economic aid to Sri Lanka. The Indian government has also taken the lead in the Global South initiative aimed at making the voices of the countries in the southern hemisphere heard at global platforms.

What has been the most pleasant surprise for me is India’s growing economic prominence. India is gradually but firmly replacing China as the major FDI destination. Global giants are making a beeline to invest in India, thanks to the economic initiatives of the government, including ‘Make in India’, improvement in the ease of doing business index, rapid infrastructure development and reaching out to the world to make India an investment destination.

India’s prowess in the service and manufacturing sector is well recognized, and now the entrepreneurial energy that it is unleashing has left the world awestruck. Today, Indian minds are leading some of the world’s top companies and influential global institutions.

That the world did not think twice before joining PM Modi’s International Solar Alliance initiative, which has its headquarters in India, is yet another example of his statesmanship. This initiative also highlights his focus on a cleaner and greener future. Similarly, when some of the top world leaders remained non-committal to the net zero emissions goals, Modi took the lead in announcing that India will achieve net zero emissions by 2070.

The world today understands that India means business! After the Ukraine-Russia war broke out, when the world leaders were busy taking sides, PM Modi spoke to the leaders of both nations and categorically stated that this is not “an era of war”, which was widely acknowledged by all the global leaders.

As a business leader with a presence in over 40 countries, as someone who has seen and worked in India since the 1980s and as a grandfather, I can confidently say that the growth of India’s stature is closely tied to that of Modi’s—and this is a good thing for the future of 1.4 billion people. From the fifth-largest economy, we are moving fast towards becoming the third-largest within the next decade.

With the rich demographic dividend that we enjoy and the talent pool we are generating, I can surely say that India’s century has already begun, and it gladdens my heart to see the exciting future that my grandchildren are going to inherit from us—an India that is a global superpower, prosperous and inclusive.

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First published on: 08-03-2023 at 01:15 IST
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