India Summit in London

Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke CH QC MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1993-1997)

New government, new policies: But can India deliver ?+91 Europe’s recent India Summit 2015 took stock of how after 12 months the new government, its policies, and different sectors of India’s economy are performing…Asian Lite News Special Report

Fresh from winning more votes than any other politician in world history, Narendra Modi has a strong mandate to transform India.  +91 Europe’s recent India Summit 2015 took stock of how after 12 months the new government, its policies, and different sectors of India’s economy are performing.  At the top of the morning, former chancellor Kenneth Clarke MP welcomed the summit and spoke about the importance of the UK-India relationship.

Mr Clarke said:  “Modi’s election had given a great spurt in confidence in the business world in India and here. It’s the expectation of desirable change to come.”

Mr Clarke’s over-arching message was the hope that the Modi government can deliver much needed economic reforms, make it easier to do business in India, and set a path for long-term growth.  David Cameron has put a particular emphasis on deepening the relationship with India, and the UK should leverage the massive connections and advantages in the UK through the Indian diaspora for mutual advantage.

Mr Clarke concluded by saying: “I have always thought great opportunities exist for our exporters, and building links with Indian investors to the UK.  It looks as if the Modi government can deliver a whole lot more.”

Lance Price, former BBC Political Correspondent, author of “The Modi Effect”, an inside account of the rise of Narendra Modi, and one of the few foreign journalists to have got inside the Narendra Modi camp, spoke eloquently about what made the prime minister tick and his plans for India.

So what’s Narendra Modi really like?  Lance Price said:  “I found Modi to be the hardest politician to read that I have ever met.  An extraordinary character and very enigmatic.  He never takes a holiday or a day off.  Even Margaret Thatcher used to take a holiday.  Modi does nothing other than work.”  Modi realises that one man cannot change India, but believes in harnessing the energies of many, to effect real change.

A theme that ran throughout the day, was the role of technology as an enabler.  Narendra Modi’s use of the latest 3D holograms, smart phones and social media, took political campaigning to sophisticated levels not seen in any country before, including America.  Its expected that the prime minister’s enthusiam for technology solutions will influence many of his policies in how to improve education, healthcare and the delivery of government services in India.

Modi’s pro-business stance has won him many friends at home and abroad. Many delegates hoped Modi would have introduced bolder reforms in his first 12 months due to his whopping mandate. The budgets he has overseen have lacked a definitive thrust for growth.  Business wants the prime minister to use his land slide victory to appeal over the heads of vested interests, and educate the public about why reforms should be welcomed and how they could bring about faster growth.

Lance Price concluded by saying:  “Success in politics relies on the indomitable will to succeed.  Modi realises that the pace of change has to be stepped up.  He has the potential to be truly transformative.”

One of the most thought provoking speeches was made by broadcaster and writer Mihir Bose, who shared his thoughts on the UK India cultural relationship. Mihir Bose said: “David Cameron is doing something unique, he has visited India 5 times which is a record, and 3 times as prime minister.”  Mihir Bose felt there were all sorts of myths about British India connections over 300 years, and that it was only now that the British are really discovering India as the country becomes a more significant player in world trade.

Mihir Bose concluded by saying:  “If Modi’s direction is any guide, for India, United States and then East Asia will be important.” Britain will remain important, but on a different scale.

Commenting after the summit, Rakesh Rawal, CEO, +91 Europe said: “The biggest hitters from the worlds of politics, business, media and academia came out to play for +91 today.”  The India Summit 2015 was lead sponsored by Taylor Wessing.  Media partners were Asian Lite and the Harvard Business Review.