India’s top business honchos hail Modi ahead of 2024 polls
India’s top business leaders on Wednesday showered praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be seeking a third consecutive term in office in national elections scheduled for later this year.
Speaking at the Global Gujarat Summit 2024 in Gandhinagar, in the state of Gujarat, where Modi ruled from 2001 to 2014, the tycoons all sang the same tune, hailing Modi for boosting the economy and raising India’s status as an important geopolitical player and an attractive investment destination.
Addressing the inaugural session of the summit, which was attended by UAE President Mohamed Bin Zayed and other dignitaries, Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Group and Asia’s richest man, referred to Modi as “our beloved leader” and “the greatest global leader of our times,” who is “applauded” by the whole world.
Another Indian tycoon, Gautam Adani, observed that India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 185%, while per capita incomes have risen 165% since 2014, when Modi took over as the prime minister. “This achievement is unparalleled, especially considering this decade’s geo-political conflicts and pandemic challenges,” Adani said.
Like Modi, both Ambani and Adani hail from Gujarat. Ambani’s net worth is currently estimated at $96.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index (BBI), while Adani’s is worth $95.0 billion.
Praise for the economic policies put in place by Modi’s government also came in from other corporate sector chiefs such as Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, a UK-based steel billionaire of Indian origin, chairperson of ArcelorMittal, and N Chandrasekaran, the chairman of Tata Group, another major Indian conglomerate operating in various sectors – from power and defense to airlines, EV vehicles, and retail.
The industry leaders capitalized on the opportunity to address a high-profile event in Modi’s home state, where economic growth has been a topic of debate by experts and economists, to pledge more investments ahead of the crucial poll later this year. The top conglomerates are planning to expand their presence in new areas being aggressively promoted by the government, such as electronics and semiconductors, electric vehicles, defense, and green energy.
For instance, Ambani announced major infrastructure projects in the state, including a green energy giga complex in Jamnagar that will generate a large number of “green jobs.” The Reliance Group chief also announced that his company will help India’s ambitious bid to host the Olympics in 2036 by helping improve infrastructure in Gujarat.
Adani, too, announced a slew of investments in Gujarat, including building the world’s largest green energy park, capable of generating 30 GW of renewable energy. Over the next five years, Adani Group will invest over 200 billion rupees ($24bn) in Gujarat, creating over “100,000 direct and indirect jobs”, he vowed.
Mittal said his company will build the world's single largest steel manufacturing site at Hazira, Gazimat, a large port located in Surat, by 2029.
Modi, addressing the forum, claimed that the world looks at India “as an important pillar of stability, a friend who can be trusted, a partner who believes in people-centric development” as well as the voice of the global south and an “engine of growth in the global economy.”