Not so long ago India was sold as a mystical land of ash-smeared holy men, snake charmers and other cultural exotica, all part of the nation’s collective imagery.
But today’s India is a far cry from the stereotypes.
After the US and China, it’s becoming the world’s third-largest economy. India’s meteoric rise has been fuelled by a remarkable shift in its economic fortunes. During a period when growth remained anaemic across much of the industrialised world, India’s gross domestic product grew a staggering 7.2% in 2014 under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reform-focused government.
Aside from recent stock market jitters, the World Bank pegs India’s GDP growth at 7.5% for 2015. Much of India’s economy is driven by its so-called “demographic dividend”: Nearly two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion population is under the age of 35, creating one of the largest consumer markets in the world. It’s no surprise it’s attracting businesses the world over, keen to access these new customers.
“India provides a good balance between a fast-growing economy and one that happens to be relatively open and transparent,” said Dhruv Ratra, San Francisco-based CEO of Anglian Omega Network, an umbrella group headquartered in Dubai, UAE, whose business ventures in India include everything from beauty product businesses to commodities and manufacturing.
“With China slowing and providing multiple barriers to entry, and Europe stagnating, there are very few places in the world that provide the opportunities that India does.”