By Jaideep Sarin
Sharing the stage with people who together control trillions of dollars and give direction to world economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi scaled his idea of Vibrant Gujarat to that of ‘Vibrant India’.
He called upon countries and corporates to invest in India’s growth story and sold his ‘Make in India’ campaign to the world business community.
As the proceedings began Sunday at Gandhinagar’s Mahatma Mandir complex, Modi had UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the prime ministers of Bhutan and Macedonia, ministers from Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Singapore and other countries, corporate czars and top CEOs by his side.
“This event is perhaps the biggest gathering on earth where a budding entrepreneur has the opportunity to see the president of the World Bank. Where a young farmer, dreaming to set up a food processing unit, can listen to the views of the UN secretary general on issues like food security,” a visibly happy Modi said.
The number of private jets bringing in top industrialists, global CEOs, leaders and diplomats at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport and the blaring sirens of police vehicles escorting VIPs to the summit venue were an indicator of the how seriously everyone, Modi included, took the investment summit.
This year, the summit has the US, Britain, Japan, Canada, Holland, Australia, Singapore and South Africa as partner countries. Leading trade bodies like the United State India Business Council (USIBC), which has brought its biggest-ever delegation of over 130 top business honchos, and others are part of the event.
The scaled up summit saw Prime Minister Modi hosting and inaugurating the event here.
Top Indian industrialists Mukesh Ambani, Kumarmangalam Birla, Anil Ambani, Gautam Adani and ICICI Bank’s Chanda Kochhar rubbed shoulders with global CEOs, including Ajay Banga of Mastercard.
“We are placing our bets on India,” said Banga, who once studied at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad.
“In the next one decade, India can lead in ending poverty. Till India is part of our efforts (in removing poverty), the World Bank cannot succeed,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was inspired by Modi’s slogan ‘Sabka saath, Sabka vikas’. “We should all adopt it,” he said in a lighter vein.