Two top leaders of India Inc — Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and auto major Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra (M&M) — have said the Indian economy is showing signs of a pick-up and recent sales indicators show the worst is now behind the nation.
Both business leaders were speaking at the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh. “India’s slight economic slowdown will reverse in the coming quarters. What I see happening in the past 2-3 years is transformation,” said Ambani.
“As a businessman and as an investor, I am all in, in terms of investing in this country,” Ambani said.
“If you look at what happened, yes, there has been a slight slowdown but in my view it’s temporary,” said he. “All the reform measures that have been taken in the last few months will show the outcome. I am quite sure that in the coming quarters this will reverse,” he said.
Ambani, who is in talks with Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco to sell one-fifth of his oil-to-chemicals business in India for $15 billion, said the two countries have almost factors to drive growth — technology, young demography, and leadership.
“Above all, there is a leadership accelerator. Both the countries are blessed with leadership that is unique in the whole world, at least in today’s time,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Saudi Arabia, he said, has seen tremendous transformation in the past 2-3 years. “For me, this is 1980 vintage China or India of the 1990s where India took on the world map.”
Ambani had in August announced that Saudi Aramco has agreed to take a 20 per cent stake in Reliance Industries’ refining and petrochemicals business, as the world’s largest crude oil exporter deepens its ties with India, the fastest-growing energy consumer.
On the other hand, Mahindra said Diwali sales have been very good for the Mahindra Group and it has reported double-digit growth in sales over last year. Diwali, he told a TV channel, is like Christmas in India and it has shown a significant jump in consumption for the company. M&M has cut excess inventories and most car companies have sanitised their pipelines and are looking ahead to the festive season with hope, he said.
When asked about the trade war, Mahindra said the global trade tensions gave an opportunity to India to use its clout and negotiate bilateral trade deals. “The more tension there is outside, the more leverage India gets,” Mahindra told Bloomberg TV. In the event of a Brexit, Mahindra said the United Kingdom would reach out to large economies like China and India for bilateral deals which would be beneficial for India.
(With inputs from agencies)