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India to benefit from US, China decoupling: Gautam Adani tells Davos Summit

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India to benefit from US, China decoupling: Gautam Adani tells Davos Summit

Countries seeking their own form of self-reliance, says billionaire in reference to India’s Atmanirbharta campaign of economic independence

The decoupling of trading giants the United States and China is a huge opportunity for India to become a powerful force in the global supply chain, said billionaire Gautam Adani in Davos.

The chairman of the Adani Group said in a blog post that due to geo-economic fragmentation and weaponisation of economic policies, the world is witnessing the “Great Fracture” (a term coined by the UN Secretary-General). The tension between China and the US has knock-on global consequences and it has severely diluted economic globalisation.

Adani said no one would have imagined that the world would change so drastically in a short time that the World Economic Forum (WEF) would shift from discussing ‘Globalization 4.0’ at Davos 2019 to discussing ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’ in Davos 2023.

“The rules did get rewritten–but in a totally unanticipated way. This onslaught of multi-dimensional risks is unprecedented, and their confluence creates a far bigger compounding effect or a ‘polycrisis’—a term that was coined in the 1990s and was broadly covered in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report for this year,” he said.

Adani said this year’s WEF meet was his busiest as he met over a dozen heads of states and several business leaders.

“Global alliances are now issue-based rather than allegiance-based. A very interesting remark made by Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister that gave both China and the US ‘very important’ status highlights how fast geopolitical couplings are evolving. The past is no longer a predictor for the future, as no country wants to make just a single bet. Each country is seeking its own form of self-reliance, something we Indians call Atmanirbharta (self-reliance),” said Adani, who plans to invest a massive $100 billion in India by 2030.

“I must say that in the meetings I had with the senior leaders of NEOM (a futuristic city in Saudi Arabia) and Saudi Arabia, the vision of NEOM that aims to redefine “livability” is simply stunning in its scale and scope and will set an unprecedented benchmark in the years to come. It is a rallying cry for the quality of integrated infrastructure that the rest of the world aspires to build.

“While climate change remains the top priority and risk for the global community, it is clear that climate investments will be driven by the energy security agenda and self-interest. It was evident this year that the façade of just focusing on green energy has been blown away by the European energy crisis. While the climate warriors may remain tight-lipped, there is recognition that we need a pragmatic energy transition plan that includes fossil fuels to achieve inclusive growth,” he said.

The US Inflation Reduction Act has prompted Europe to develop its own green package to prevent outbound migration of technology, money and expertise. “My discussions made it evident that Europe’s reactionary move is motivated more by concern for its own energy security and the protection of its industries than by a desire to steer the global green transition. In many ways, the divide between the US and Europe could not be more evident as both pursue their own national agendas while still claiming alignment. In my view, there is nothing wrong in doing so,” he said.

While the origins of the term Indian Summer lie in regions inhabited by Native Americans, it does appear that India is advantageously positioned and it may be the primary bright spot among several large economies. “Our multi-vector, non-partisan approach has ensured that we are well-respected and have become one of the leading voices batting for the emerging economies. The growing prominence was very visible during the forum, with widespread participation by Indian companies and government officials.”


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