India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are the talk of the town at the snow-covered Swiss resort town of Davos, where four-day annual mega event of the world's rich and powerful is taking place. From huge billboards of PM Modi on buildings to ad banners on buses promoting Indian companies - the country is ready to send a strong message of 'India means Business' or 'Make in India' at the world stage on Tuesday when the PM will speak at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos.
On the sidelines of the mega event, Mahindra and Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra sat with India Today Managing Editor Rahul Kanwal and Business Today.in Editor Rajeev Dubey to talk about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda for his keynote address, and the overall role India is playing at the world stage.
On asking about Prime Minister Modi's vision for his Davos address, Anand Mahindra said: "I think he has recognised the WEF is today's one-stop-destination to put forward your vision, which I presume is going to be Prime Minister Modi's vision too. In essence, he is here to tell the world his 'Mann Ki Baat'."
Mahindra was also asked about Prime Minister Modi's "offensive" against criticism over structural reforms - carried out by the Narendra Modi government - after India's ranking on 'ease of doing business' took a sharp jump. "These are the initiative carried out with good intention. So he does not need to be apologetic. And I think his timing - decision to visit Davos to address the world's who's who at the WEF - is perfect that shows India is ready to play a big role."
For the first time ever, India has jumped 30 positions to become the top 100th country in terms of ease of doing business ranking. This was announced by the World Bank Group's latest 'Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs' report in Delhi on October 2017. The World Bank attributed the change in India ranking to the sustained business reforms it had undertaken ever since the Modi government took charge.
Anand Mahindra was also asked what role India could play in - as the WEF 2018 theme goes - 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World', to which he said India, being the most pluralistic country in the world, could showcase the world how finding solutions to its problems could address the entire world's problems. "India itself has a fractured society, which is a classical example of every kind of division. I think all the solution to the world's fractures lie in India."
India's neighbouring country China's strong pitch for free trade at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year was considered as China'a desire to play a greater global role. Is India considered in the same league? "India is in the same league but we still have miles to go. However, the world needs to see India's growth story," he said.
On talking points at the forum, Mahindra said the discussion - instead of focusing on core tech - would be "intermingling of ideas" at one stage, which "you don't see anywhere in the world".