New airport for Navi Mumbai on the way

India’s infrastructure major, L&T (Larsen and Toubro), has bagged the contract for construction of the Navi Mumbai International Airport.

The company did not provide value of the contracts but said the orders fall under “major” category which ranges between US$ 715.40 million and US$ 1 billion.

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Navi Mumbai (shown in these pictures) is a part of Greater Mumbai and is a planned satellite city.

This second international airport for bustling Mumbai is no small venture – it is being developed to initially handle a capacity of 10 million passengers per annum. The project will subsequently be enhanced to handle 20 MPA.

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Regular visitors to India will notice constant upgrades in infrastructure – infrequent visitors will be amazed at the global quality of many Indian airports.

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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.

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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.

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India-Australia trade relations set to grow at critical time

Many of us have championed closer economic ties between Australia and India. It is now more important than ever to get closer to India.

As Austrade expresses it – “With trade wars, powerful neighbours, and the odds on a recession narrowing within the next two years, considering Indian market entry has never been more mission-critical for Australian business.”

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Some key statistics:

•In 2018, Australia’s total exports to India grew 10% to A$22.3 billion. India ranked number five in Australia’s export destinations.

•Two-way trade increased by a similar percentage to A$30.4 billion, making India Australia’s sixth largest two-way trade partner.1

•Australian investment in India increased almost 12% to A$15.6 billion, slightly ahead of India’s investment in Australia at A$15.1 billion.

However – and here is why Australia needs to balance trade – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016–17 (the latest year for which there is data), only 2,087 exporters engaged with India, compared to 7,214 for China.

Time to think India.

Gandhi’s inspiration lives on today

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule, becoming known as “The father of the nation”. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

I well remember campaigns against the Vietnam War – I was one of so many who used silent protest, peaceful marches and so on, all inspired by Gandhi. It was so special recently to visit his Ashram in Gujarat, and I have previously been to his burial site and other special locations in other cities.

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Apparently he also influenced Martin Luther King in the USA who used peaceful means, also Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

Incredible wisdom.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

Thank you Mahatma Gandhi.

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Global Purchasing Power is moving to Asia

The biggest nation on Earth, China, is expected to keep its top spot as the country with the largest purchasing power on Earth and is on track to almost triple its purchasing power by 2030, according to an analysis by the British Bank, Standard Chartered.

India will almost quadruple its purchasing power, moving to rank 2.

China will double the USA while India will beat USA by approx 50%.

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In the case of Japan, the country is expected to lose 5 ranks and emerge as the country with the 9th highest purchasing power worldwide.

Developing economies like Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and Egypt are set to move into ranks four to seven respectively, toppling the reign of countries like Japan and Germany, which are still growing their purchasing power but at a much slower rate. The U.S. is expected to only drop one rank to position 3 but is grappling with slower growth.

In summary – an amazing outcome for Asia – especially China, India and Indonesia.

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How is your Asia engagement strategy going? Time to begin, change or reinvigorate? Get good advice so you avoid the mistakes of many before you.

Megacities right on Australia’s doorstep – opportunities in Asia-Pacific

In 1900 only 15% of the globe’s population resided in cities. By 2008 over half of the world’s population lived in cities. The trend continues.

Megacities have 10 million or more people and the future growth is in Asia Pacific.

In 2017, Asia Pacific accounted for the largest number of megacities, with 19 of the 33 (58%). China and India are the regional and global leaders, with six and four megacities each in 2017, respectively. For India these are Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. Chennai will join them within a decade.

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Pictured – Mumbai, one of India’s four Megacities

Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, (picture below) will replace Tokyo as the globe’s biggest city – 35.6 million by 2030.

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Ageing is expected to have an impact on many key megacities in East Asia over 2017–2030. Growth in the share of over 65-year-olds will be particularly apparent in Seoul, and Chinese megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

The twin opportunities for Australia – become involved in the move towards “smart cities” and provide services for the ageing populations. It’s right on our doorstep.

The harmony of Kerala was so real

Experience Number Three – my series on India tourism. This one is in Kerala – Gods Own Country – we have been in the mountains, on the beach, we are in a floating hotel on the backwaters. Kerala is a long thin state on the south west side of the very bottom tip of India, so it is hot, tropical and amazingly friendly. One friend told me this is a legacy of always being a global trading centre and not a place of conflict. In the first evening on the backwaters – pull in for the night – the lovely sound (for Australian ears) of the top being popped off a bottle of beer – but there are some real spiritual sounds – the singing of Christian hymns comes from one side – the chant of the Hindus and the call to prayer of the Muslims – all at once – my friend says let’s get the leaders of the world here so they can see it is possible to be different but live in harmony. Ah, Kerala, well done!!

More tourism experiences in future blogs…

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When in India in a suit and tie, watch out for the Holi Festival!

Experience Number Two – my series on tourism experiences in India. This one was in Kolkata, lots of sweets, love the intellectual culture, last day of a business trip I have just one more business appointment and then on to the plane – but with an hour to spare I get my friend to take me to the museum home of the great Rabindranath Tagore – poet, thinker, philosopher – and we are on the second floor – I look out the window – the building is next to a university and has become surrounded by students – throwing pink purple blue and red powder over each other – Holi Festival has started – so we have to leave for the final appointment – walk through, so far so good, then two charming young students say “May we Sir?” with their powder – I am in India, I am here for the experience, so I say YES. Arriving at the appointment my host laughs and hugs me – and we remain strong friends.

More experiences of India in future blogs…

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Have an ayurvedic massage when visiting India

Experiences of India tourism – Ayurvedic massage in Kerala. 

Staying at Bruntons Boatyard in wonderful Kochi, an old style hotel right on the ocean where you can watch passing ships, the ferries and traditional fishing.

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You can also have an ayurvedic massage – my friend and I booked in for our first. Bit nervous. Explained to the masseur that my left shoulder was operated on and could he please be careful with it? Turned out he did not speak a word of English – but by his actions he must have thought I was asking for a special workout for the shoulder! In tears of pain, covered in oil, lying face down on a wooden slippery table – and he indicates I should turn over. Can’t – too slippery. So one grabs my head and the other my feet – FLIP!

But here is the thing – now my left shoulder is by far my strongest, thanks to ayurveda. I am a believer. Have never experienced a massage like that one. Give it a try.

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The outside restaurant at Bruntons Boatyard – have dinner, watch the sunset and the seaside activity

India has a huge future in tourism – not just a destination, India is an experience!

Think tourism in India and most people think Taj Mahal and the Golden Triangle. But there is so much more to the Indian tourism story.

India is changing and tourism is growing – it is now 10 million visitors per year and will grow to 30 million by 2028. The growth will include new parts of India, and new forms of tourism – cruises, medical, mind and wellness, sports, adventure and religion.

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India has just built the world’s tallest statue – the “Statue of Unity” of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an independence fighter and India’s first Home Minister. At 182 metres, it is already bringing tourists into the state of Gujarat.

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Things can change quickly these days – China is now the world’s leading tourist destination with over 100 million visitors per year. Other high ranking countries are France (90m), USA (77m) and Japan (30m).

For Australia, India provides around 300,000 tourists per year, but China is number one at 1.4 million.

Some of my wonderful experiences of touring India include ayuvedic massage in Kerala that fixed a problematic shoulder, covered in coloured powder in Kolkata during Holi, visiting Raj Ghat the wonderful Gandhi shrine and gardens in New Delhi and being embraced by an Indian family I met there, being on Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai during the Ganesha Festival with one million of my closest new friends. And on it goes. India is not so much a destination as an experience!

Watch out for the next phase of India tourism – it will take you beyond the Taj Mahal.