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  • The Indian economy is booming. This year, the country's GDP is expected to grow between 6 and 7 percent.

  • India is the world's fastest-growing major economy. We see India growing from about $3.5 trillion in 2023 to about $7 trillion by the end of the decade.

  • Although the U.S. and China still dwarf the nation in terms of total gross domestic product, powered by a population of 1.4 billion, India could become the leader in global economic growth.

  • Many of the world's investment banks have keyed in on India as a real prime investment destination right now.

  • Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Barclays.

  • With so much investment coming in, companies around the world may soon need to have an India strategy.

  • But what will it take for the country to get ahead?

  • For now, China still holds the crown as the main driver for global economic growth.

  • Its economic opening in the late 70s only accelerated after 2001, when it joined the World Trade Organization.

  • It was the country that attracted foreign investment. It was the driver of financial markets and global capital markets.

  • Every company around the world needed a strategy to deal with China.

  • India didn't start to liberalize its economy till the 90s, and it's been a slow climb since.

  • But with current levels at about 7 percent, growing just a bit faster is all it needs to surpass China.

  • India's per capita income has grown sevenfold from the early 90s to now.

  • There has been significant progress also in the financial markets.

  • These boxes represent economic growth in 2023.

  • China, on the left, contributed close to a third, while India took second place.

  • But look at how this changes if India grew about one percent faster a year.

  • By 2028, the new picture is this.

  • Geopolitics and China's own internal struggles are tipping this trend in India's favor.

  • What you're seeing recently is investors around the world, as they sort of shift out of China, are actually putting a lot of new funds into India.

  • Nowhere is this more evident than at the Samsung Noida factory on the outskirts of New Delhi.

  • This area was farmland a decade ago.

  • Now it's the world's largest mobile phone factory, producing 120 million handsets a year.

  • Samsung opened the plant in 2018, when business in China was becoming increasingly difficult.

  • It isn't alone.

  • As the Chinese economy stumbles, businesses from Apple to Boeing are looking elsewhere, and at India in particular.

  • India was growing fast enough to take the lead as recently as 2021, and the government says it can do it again.

  • But first, it must overcome some major hurdles in these key areas, manufacturing, urbanization, workforce and infrastructure.

  • Let's start with manufacturing.

  • For decades, China has been the world's dominant force in manufacturing.

  • China is the assembly line to the world.

  • Manufacturing makes up 26 percent of China's economy, while in India it's only 16 percent.

  • The government aims that the share of manufacturing should grow up to 25 percent by 2025.

  • To boost manufacturing, some 150 million Indians still working as farmers would need to move and take jobs at factories.

  • This change would drive urbanization.

  • Decades ago, both China and India had huge rural economies and were largely dependent on farming.

  • In the 1990s, China very rapidly urbanized its economy, moving away from a traditional rural agricultural economy and to a much more modern urban industrial economy.

  • 64 percent of China's population lives in urban areas.

  • In India, it's 36 percent.

  • India needs a lot more cities.

  • There is a lot of progress already happening in terms of interconnectivity for the cities.

  • More railway network, better infrastructure for airports and so forth.

  • But there are crucial problems like water, like traffic, like urban housing that needs to be solved.

  • An urban population supports a robust workforce.

  • And in 2023, India overtook China as the world's most populous nation.

  • And while China's population is aging, more than half of Indians are under 30, prime working age.

  • It is going to be harboring the youngest workforce in the world.

  • Now, this is very important because history has shown that whenever demographic dividend is on the side of a country, that country grows really rapidly.

  • There's no point to having a large, young, growing population if you don't have enough jobs for them all.

  • Unemployment in the country remains stubbornly high at around 7 percent.

  • And in part because of poor quality of education, about half of all college graduates remain unemployable.

  • On top of this, not enough women in India work.

  • China has a female workforce of about 45 percent.

  • In India, it's 29 percent.

  • Closing the gender work gap could expand India's GDP by nearly a third by 2050.

  • A lot of economists believe that if India can find enough jobs for all of these people, then really the sky's the limit in terms of what growth can be.

  • An increase in manufacturing will in turn create demand for more service jobs and incentivize people to join an urban workforce.

  • But to achieve this transformation, India needs infrastructure and lots of it.

  • For a long time, India has been plagued by inadequate roads, insufficient or poorly maintained railroads, not enough airports, not enough seaports.

  • So infrastructure is really one way in which China overtook India early.

  • In the 90s, India's railway network was 15 percent bigger than China's.

  • But as China's economy started growing, it quickly took the lead.

  • And its rail network is now 60 percent bigger.

  • India is making progress.

  • The country's national highway network has expanded more than 50 percent since 2014.

  • If India can address these challenges, then foreign direct investment will likely increase.

  • That inflow of money is an essential driver of growth.

  • But accomplishing all of this is no easy feat.

  • India also needs to increase its ease of doing business.

  • The bureaucracy is such that it is not very easy to start a business in India and operate.

  • Even though the Modi government is behind on some of its goals, many in India remain optimistic that it can overtake China as the world's biggest driver of growth.

  • So one thing really working in India's favor more and more recently is simply that it's not China.

  • The administration of Narendra Modi recognizes that the U.S. and other countries in the West are looking for a partner in the region that's not China to sort of partner at a time when China is growing more assertive in the region and more closed off to foreign companies and foreign investors.

  • Who is Narendra Modi?

  • Well, it depends on who you ask.

  • India's prime minister makes the impossible possible.

  • He is very conscious of his image in history.

  • He has completely seduced the Hindi-Hindu belt.

  • Some view him as the most effective prime minister in the history of India.

  • He is passionately worshipped by millions and hailed as one of the world's most popular leaders with approval ratings surpassing 70 percent.

  • Democracy delivers and democracy empowers.

  • On the other hand, critics see him as an autocratic Hindu nationalist who marginalizes minorities and undermines democratic norms.

  • The idea that India is a democracy, this is a lie.

  • He is a champion to the poor and friend of billionaires.

  • He has lifted millions out of extreme poverty even as the country's inequality continues to widen.

  • So who is Narendra Modi?

  • Former colleagues, bureaucrats and historians give us an inside view of the man who runs one of the world's most dynamic economies to understand how exactly he got here and why he is so polarized.

  • Narendra Damodar Das Modi was born on September 17, 1950 in the town of Varnagar, situated in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

  • Narendra Modi used to sell tea. I used to sell tea with Narendra Modi.

  • Friends, when I was a child, I used to sell tea in the train ticket box.

  • And today, I am standing in front of you.

  • Narendra Modi was born on September 17, 1950 in the town of Varnagar, situated in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

  • An astrologer came here. I used to study in school.

  • So I gave one rupee to the astrologer in Bihar.

  • So we were all four or five friends.

  • I gave him a handkerchief.

  • I told him to sleep.

  • He used to think he will become a great sage, a great leader.

  • Modi experienced a typical upbringing in a small rural town marked by relative poverty and an arranged marriage during his teenage years.

  • Soon after marriage, he left the house, left the marriage and went away.

  • So around one and a half year to two years, he was roaming around like a vagabond.

  • He got a unique understanding of poverty, not as an academic subject, but the actual thing.

  • He came to Ahmedabad and eventually joined RSS and his life changed.

  • The RSS stands for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the largest and most powerful Hindu group in the country advocating pro-Hindu causes.

  • Modi quickly rose through the ranks.

  • But the RSS has a dark history.

  • The group was banned for a year after one of its members assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, a preacher of non-violence and one of the most famous figures of the 20th century.

  • Modi's knack for storytelling and captivating audiences emerged as the talent that propelled his political rise.

  • He is thinking the way masses think, the way Indian people would normally think.

  • Modi used his ability to connect with large audiences to preach the RSS philosophy of Hindutva, a hardline form of Hindu nationalism that effectively equates being Indian with being Hindu.

  • While the RSS itself doesn't stand for elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party or the BJP serves as its political arm.

  • Among the first lot of people who were deputed by the RSS to work in the BJP, it included Narendra Modi in Gujarat.

  • That is how Mr. Modi came into the BJP.

  • When he joined the BJP, Modi held administrative responsibilities, managing events, marches and rallies.

  • He rose to prominence by helping to organize a movement to build a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque had stood for 500 years.

  • The RSS and the BJP claimed the site in the city of Ayodhya was the original birthplace of Hindu god Ram and that Muslim invaders had built the mosque where a temple once stood.

  • The Hindus, within quotes, wanted that site back in order to build a suitable temple for Ram.

  • And finally in 1992, this resulted in the physical destruction of the mosque by what you can only call a mob, which was mobilized by the political parties.

  • The destruction of the mosque in 1992 would redefine Indian politics and set up Modi to eventually become the Chief Minister of Gujarat, one of India's wealthiest states, a decade later.

  • But just months after taking office on February 27, 2002, a deadly incident in Gujarat would scar Modi's image for decades to come.

  • Nearly 60 men, women and children, all Hindus, were killed in a train fire.

  • Riots broke out across the state.

  • Hundreds of people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

  • Modi was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence and the US would deny him a visa.

  • Years later, India's Supreme Court cleared Modi of any wrongdoing in the riots.

  • The Gujarat High Court would convict 31 Muslims for burning the train.

  • Certainly what happened in Gujarat in 2002, the riots or pogrom as many people call it, did give Prime Minister Modi that image as somebody who represented that particular strident form of what we now call Hindutva.

  • In the wake of the riots, Modi was under pressure from the opposition and even his own party.

  • But he called a fresh election and went on to run a defined re-election campaign as Chief Minister of Gujarat.

  • Hindus would rally behind Modi, leading to a landslide win.

  • So that is how Mr. Modi suddenly became from the leader of a government and a party which was not very sure whether they will win the elections, to somebody who became the Hindu Hridaya Samrat, the emperor of Hindu hearts.

  • Modi was poised to ascend onto the national stage.

  • But first, he had plenty of work to do in rehabilitating the image of Gujarat and himself.

  • For the first time in the history of independent India, a sitting Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, has been questioned on the role of his government in mass murders in connection with the post-Gujarat riots in Gujarat.

  • The riots in Gujarat had created a very serious situation for Gujarat.

  • People were shying away from fresh investment because things did not look normal.

  • As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi quickly started implementing policies aimed at increasing economic productivity, hoping to turn around the fortunes of the state and his own brand.

  • He decided the only way the image of Gujarat can be improved at that point, if we go back to 2002, is by projecting the image of a very peaceful state.

  • Simultaneously, Mr. Modi also realized that it is important to bring in investment.

  • So there was a considerable pressure on us to do something which will re-establish Gujarat as the best destination for investment.

  • And Vibrant Gujarat was basically an investor's meeting.

  • Mr. Modi personally talked to most of them and assured them that his government will extend all the necessary support for them to do the business quickly.

  • India's top businessmen including Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata and Gautam Adani started flocking to the annual business summit.

  • I would like to commend Mr. Modi and the entire government for making Gujarat as vibrant, as attractive and as conducive to investment as it is.

  • India's super-rich got behind Modi and saw their wealth increase dramatically.

  • They came to dominate domestic industries such as the transportation, telecommunications and energy.

  • So he became both, the development man who had not left his Hindu heart behind.

  • Modi's outreach to wealthy industrialists spawned what became to be known as the Gujarat model.

  • A plan to cut red tape in a bid to attract investment.

  • At the same time, he focused on delivering tangible benefits to the poor.

  • He was able to greatly correct the power shortage issue in Gujarat.

  • In the rural areas, decided to separate the grids for the domestic consumption and for the agricultural consumption.

  • Quite a revolutionary idea that the people became very happy that we do not have any power cuts in our residences.

  • While Gujarat's industrial development didn't trickle down to everyone, in the 12 years he was in charge, the