Sunil Mittal recounts a 2018 assurance from PM Modi that helped Airtel ‘survive’: ‘Government will not take sides’ - Hindustan Times
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Sunil Mittal recounts a 2018 assurance from PM Modi that helped Airtel ‘survive’: ‘Government will not take sides’

May 30, 2024 02:00 PM IST

Sunil Mittal recalled how Airtel struggled in 2018 owing to Reliance Jio's free services and telecom regulations.

Sunil Bharti Mittal said that an assurance in 2018 from Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped Airtel when the company was facing an "existential crisis". The Bharti Group founder recalled in an interview with the Economic Times how Airtel struggled in 2018 owing to Reliance Jio's free services and telecom regulations.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises Ltd., attends the India Mobile Congress 2022 in New Delhi.(Bloomberg)
Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises Ltd., attends the India Mobile Congress 2022 in New Delhi.(Bloomberg)

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At the time, Sunil Bharti Mittal sought a meeting with the Prime Minister in which the latter assured him that the government would remain neutral and "not take sides". Sunil Bharti Mittal said that this was the turning point for Airtel which has added added more than $80 billion to its market cap in the last five years.

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"So I took the liberty and took his permission to talk about the Indian telecom industry. I told him that things were going very badly and the situation was getting very alarming," he said.

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"He (PM) told me that his government will not tilt towards either side. Whatever is good for the country will be done. You fight in the marketplace. I don't have a view on that. But from the side of the government you can be assured that the government will not take sides," he said recalling what PM Modi assured him of.

Sunil Bharti Mittal said that owing to certainty, his company was able to fight it out in the marketplace and statements that the government only favours a few were "absolutely misplaced."

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"And to my mind, a lot of statements that this government is only favouring a few are all absolutely misplaced," Mittal said. "Money is pouring into this country, a lot of capital is coming in, the stock market is rising. These massive valuations are a function of a stable, solid, functional economy under a very solid leader," he said.

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