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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Global CEOs, top bankers queue up to meet Modi

Shishir Gupta & Gaurav Choudhury, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 01, 2014
First Published: 00:59 IST(1/9/2014) | Last Updated: 01:50 IST(1/9/2014)

Global chief executives and top bankers of iconic Wall Street companies are queuing up to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a clear sign that India’s economy has never mattered more than now.

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Indian-born Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain called on Modi recently while Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Bank of America CEO Brian T Moynihan are expected to meet the PM during his visit to the US in September, top government sources told HT.

The top brass of General Motors (GM), the world’s second-largest carmaker by sales volumes, including its global CEO Mary Barra, chairman Tim Solso and head of International operations Stefan Jacoby are expected to meet Modi next month, sources said.

The Prime Minister is learnt to have also recently met Mark Fields, CEO of Ford, which has a manufacturing plant in Sanand in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

The string of meetings is being seen as a major turnaround for India’s image as an investment destination.

In the last two years, global credit rating agencies and investment banks had been unsparing in their criticism about the Indian economy’s management, which had been marred by policy logjams, project delays and a string of corruption scandals sending Asia’s third-largest economy into its sharpest deceleration in 25 years.

Analysts said the meetings with global CEOs and influential bankers are clear signs that the investors view the Modi government’s commitment on reforms and easing business environment as serious intent.

“So far the governments have taken a piecemeal approach – but there now appears to be serious effort by the central government and some of the state governments to revive the manufacturing sector,” Chetan Ahya, of Morgan Stanley, said in a recent research report.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley Saturday said better days were ahead amid signs that companies were investing and hiring more and prices were moderating, buoyed by the measures that the Modi-led government has taken to aid the India economy claw out of its deepest slump in a quarter of a century.

Latest data showed that the Indian economy expanded at 5.7% in April-June—the fastest in two-and-a-half years.


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