IndiGo is modern India – starting in 2006 and now the biggest airline

IndiGo airline is the story of modern India.

Now India’s largest airline, IndiGo expects to see a growth at 30 per cent a year over the next few years.

It is the largest airline in India by passengers carried and fleet size, with a 48.1% domestic market share as of June 2019.

Yet the company started flying in 2006.

Indian airport

IndiGo commenced operations on 4 August 2006 with a service from New Delhi to Imphal via Guwahati.

According to Dutta, chief executive of the airline, “We expect that half of that growth will go international, half will go domestic.” He is positive about the international operations of the airline.

The airline presently has around 238 aircraft in its fleet comprising of ATRs and narrow body aircraft.  The airline is looking at wide body aircraft.

Modern India – things change fast.


Ho Hum! “Trade war” not worrying Indian companies active in China

Seems Indian companies active in China think that the USA-China trade war is all a bit “ho hum” – or maybe an opportunity?


Indian organisations working in China don’t expect any critical effect of the escalating trade war among Beijing and Washington on their business, a new survey conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has stated, including that most of the companies intend to put more in Beijing in 2019.

The survey of Indian organisations working in China indicates cautious optimism and certainty when contrasted with the past survey a year ago. “Most organisations don’t see a significant effect of the present trade situation between the US and China on their business,” said Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.

In excess of 120 Indian organisations work in China separated from a sizeable number of merchants who have workplaces here; 57 of the organisations reacted to the CII poll.

As per the survey, two-fifths are considering inclining up their investment more than 2018. More IT and BPO organisations intend to make extra investment in 2019 contrasted with 2018.

My “top 10” of Indian companies active in China:

Adani Global; Essar; Jindal Steel & Power; Reliance ADAG; TCS; Tata Sons; Union Bank of India; Allahabad Bank; Bank of Baroda; Bank of India.


Also in China are Zee TV; Jet Airways; Apollo International; Ashok Leyland.

What is the “fourth industrial revolution” and why is India important?

The First Industrial Revolution introduced the use of steam power to mechanize production.

The Second Industrial Revolution saw a number of groundbreaking inventions in transport, telecommunications and manufacturing, including the use of electric power to generate mass production.

The Third Industrial Revolution brought the internet and other technological innovations, which have ushered society into the digital era.

Today, society is challenged by a Fourth Industrial Revolution, an age in which scientific and technological breakthroughs are disrupting industries, blurring geographical boundaries, challenging existing regulatory frameworks, and even redefining what it means to be human.

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, drones and precision medicine are swiftly changing lives and transforming businesses and societies, inevitably posing new risks and raising ethical concerns. How can society ensure that its policies, norms and standards are able to keep up with these rapidly evolving technologies?

The World Economic Forum has chosen India as the base for its Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – India is the world’s largest democracy having the second highest number of scientists and engineers – shaping the future.

Modi oath

7 Indian cities that provide alternative gateways to this diverse market

You should consider India as a ‘market of markets’. Your market entry strategy should examine where your value proposition best matches market opportunity. That opportunity may not always be in one of the six mega cities of India. Here are some alternative (out of left field) cities to put on your radar:


140 kms from Ahmedabad, big in petrochemicals (Reliance Industries), engineering, pharmaceuticals, plastics and IT – thanks to the vision and influence of the Confederation of Indian Industries which pushed for and got a Knowledge City there, it recently attracted a Mastercard technology hub. Expansion of highways linking it to Ahmedabad and Mumbai make it attractive.


Pictured Vadadora integrated air terminal – great connectivity to other cities

For the long term, the corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is worth attention – with India’s first bullet train scheduled to open there in 2024. – long term!


Known as Vizag this port city on the Bay of Bengal is part of the state of Andhra Pradesh, and is its largest city, acting as financial capital of AP. It is host to many industries, including steel, mining, and has a large naval and other port facilities.  The city has very good port, air, road and rail connectivity, and as a result is growing fast – with four new towns on its edges and “Smart City” status.

Below – Vizag



Mysore could be seen as your gateway to Bengaluru – not as crowded and lower costs. Another benefit is the ranking as India’s second cleanest city.


This ancient town is steadily being brought into the orbit of Bengaluru (just 145 kilometres away) with an upgrade of the road and communications links. Tourism, IT software development and education are mainstays of the economy here, plus the city is surrounded by four industrial zones, so it would be a good place to consider as an entry point to these sectors.


Nagpur’s claim to fame is its location – right in the centre of India. Apart from New Delhi, it is the only city with rail connection to all state capitals. This makes it an ideal place for logistics within the central regions of the sub-continent. It is located in the state of Maharashtra, but a few kilometres from Madhya Pradesh in the north. It houses the Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) project.


There is an opportunity to build a logistics base here. Companies including Mahindra Satyam, DLF, Sahara and Raheja all have bought land to create townships and there is a plan for Health City as a centre for healthcare. IT giants such as TCS and Infosys are building major centres here. It has also a tourism opportunity with tiger parks within striking distance.


If you are looking for a prize position on the Mumbai–New Delhi growth corridor (1,500 Kms., over 6 states, transport, “smart cities” and Japanese financing), and access to the transport infrastructure which links Mumbai and New Delhi, this would have to be on your list. Indore is a commerce and industrial city in Madhya Pradesh, strong now in IT (Infosys and TCS locating there) as well as a major healthcare and education centre.

Pictured below Indore

Indore 3


We take a different view and urge you to think Pune as an alternative to Mumbai, fast becoming a conurbation of massive size. Mumbai is fast, expensive, has massive population pressure, proudly 24/7 and you have to be fully ready to go before having a conversation.


Pune is a more affordable centre of education, manufacturing – with research/innovation of growing importance, and can be your more manageable and more liveable (along with Hyderabad highest ranking on Mercer 2015 Quality of Living rankings) gateway to Mumbai.

Gurgaon and Noida

Again, a different view – thinking of New Delhi, also think of satellite cities: Gurgaon (especially) and Greater Noida. Gurgaon is a diverse financial and industrial city and the Indian corporate headquarters of IBM, American Express, Microsoft, Bank of America and many more – 250 of the Fortune 500 companies are there. It was also one of the first offshoring locations thanks to GE. Good access to the political and decision-making heart of New Delhi – which is also impacted by major population pressure. Retail is significant in Gurgaon with 30 or so shopping malls.




Happy Independence Day to young and vibrant India

On this Independence Day for India, 15 August, it was a privilege to attend the flag raising ceremony at the Indian Consulate in Melbourne (picture below).


It made me reflect on one amazing statistic about India – more than 50% of its population is below the age of 25 (that’s 600 million) and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan.

This “Demographic Dividend” will drive economic growth and cultural change.

Happy Indian Independence Day!

Time for the Nehru-Gandhi family dynasty to end for Congress Party

For almost 100 years, generations of the Nehru-Gandhi family have led the Indian National Congress Party – is this dynasty coming to an end?

This question pre-occupies Indian commentators as Rahul Gandhi (pictured above) quit after leading the party to a disastrous 2019 election loss to Narendra Modi.

The modern Indian electorate is aspirational and finds little to like in the conservative and history obsessed Congress Party.

One key element of becoming a leader is that you are driven to do it, that becoming leader is your life’s passion. Rahul Gandhi never convinced in this – he looked like a man forced to run because of the dynasty.

In 1919, Motilal Nehru (pictured below) became the president of India’s oldest party, the Indian National Congress. Rahul was his great-great-grandson.


This dynasty goes from Motilal Nehru to his son Jawaharlal Nehru (independent India’s first Prime Minister), and then to Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi (who had married a man named Feroze Gandhi, and since then the dynasty has been called the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty), and her two sons, Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. After Rajiv Gandhi was murdered by a Tamil terrorist in 1991, the party eventually convinced his Italian wife, Sonia Gandhi (born Sonia Maino), to take over the steering wheel. Sonia brought into Indian politics her two children: Rahul and Priyanka, making them the fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi family line within the party leadership.


Sonia Gandhi returns as fill in leader of the Congress Party as it contemplates the future

Many say Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (pictured below) has all the leadership qualities Rahul lacked, and could succeed to the leadership.


The huge victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has only underlined how the BJP has replaced the Congress as “India’s natural party of government”.

Congress has been decimated, with only 52 (up 8) national parliamentary seats compared with the BJP’s 303 (up 21) and none from 19 of the country’s 36 states and territories. It is estimated that the BJP won 92 per cent of contests with a Congress candidate and only 52 per cent of direct contests with other parties.

“The Congress Party must radically transform itself,” Rahul Gandhi wrote in his resignation letter. The question is – can it look beyond the dynasty to find a new, modern leader and political brand?

Watch Out! Divided world ahead!

You can see the world dividing, as the USA and China continue locked in a trade war.

The global division began when Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership – of which Australia was a part. With the TPP, Trump could have dealt with China on behalf of “the world”. Once this was gone, he was free to just speak for America and that is where the divisions began. This seems to be what he wanted all along.


Then the trade war with China revved up and seems unstoppable.

One result (unintended consequence) of the Trump approach has been to unite the 15 countries trying to create the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – the biggest free trade deal in history. Australia is part of this, as is, surprisingly, India. So too are Japan, China and Indonesia. The USA is not.

So what would a divided world look like? China on one side (potentially with Japan, Australia, India and the other 15 RCEP countries), USA on the other, different digital technologies and communication platforms – much more fundamental that just selling cheap shirts and tennis shoes. This is a huge divide, not just about trade.


Australia can probably play this division on both teams – we probably have to, but it will be one hell of a balancing act. Remaining close to America while engaging with China and others in the RCEP could see a win-win for Aussies. But others might have a different view.

AustralianSuper leads the way on Indian infrastructure investment

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India has just  announced that AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest superannuation fund, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers’), Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan, have each signed agreements for investments of up to USD 1 billion with the NIIF Master Fund.


The agreements include commitments of USD 250 million each in the Master Fund and co-investment rights of up to USD 750 million each in future opportunities alongside the Fund.

AustralianSuper and Ontario Teachers’ will now join the Government of India (GOI), Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Temasek, HDFC Group, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance and Axis Bank as investors in the Fund.


Pictured Mark Delaney, CIO, AustralianSuper

AustralianSuper and Ontario Teachers’ will also become shareholders in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited, NIIF’s investment management company. Domestic investors HDFC Life and Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance have further committed INR 600 million in the third round.

With this, NIIF Master Fund becomes the largest infrastructure fund in India with assets under management of over USD 1.8 billion and a co-investment pool of USD 2.5 billion, which will enable the Fund to invest at the scale required for the large infrastructure requirements in India.

Well done AustralianSuper – leading the way for investing in India.


India and Australia to be key players in world’s largest free trade deal

Australia and India are poised to be key players in the world’s largest free trade deal – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which should be signed by mid 2020.

There are 15 countries in RCEP excluding the USA. Major players are China, Japan, Indonesia, India and Australia.

RCEP will have a market of over 3.5 billion people and almost 33% of the world’s GDP.

As we have noted before – Trumps’s trade war with China has given some urgency to RCEP negotiations and the 15 countries are set to complete the deal.


Pictured the two Prime Ministers excited about RCEP – Australia’s PM Morrison (left) and India’s PM Modi

Revoking special status of Kashmir seems to be common sense by PM Modi

Not many people outside of India would be aware of the “special status” given to Kashmir – but all has changed as the status has been revoked by the Modi Government.

Under the previous special status Jammu and Kashmir had their own constitution and decision making rights for all areas except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

But the special status went further than that – forbidding Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships.

While it might have initially been designed to protect Jammu and Kashmir, we know from experience that special status like this also condemns the recipient to live in a kind of time warp, stagnating and excluded from the broad benefits of economic growth and social change.

In other words, the decision of the Modi Government to revoke the special status seems to be good common sense.


But there appears to be no end of trouble in this area disputed by India and Pakistan.

Maybe the India side can be peaceful via the longer term plan to split the state into two territories – Jammu and Kashmir with their own elected legislature and Ladakh (picture above) which will be ruled directly by the central government.

Let’s hope the move is positive and the people can be free from conflict.

Now the challenge for PM Modi is to find some resolution of the conflict with Pakistan – but that seems a challenge beyond resolution.