Ratan Tata positive on India, says outlook "not as bad"
Melbourne: Tata Group head Ratan Tata has said that though India had many changes of government, the outlook "might not be as bad" as one might think.
However, Tata, who was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Business from the University of New South Wales, said he feels that the fabric of Indian values and ethics was "slowly deteriorating", especially in the business community.
He made it clear that his group, India's largest conglomerate, was based on strong ethics and would not participate in corruption and bribery.
"India (may have) had many changes of government, but the outlook 'might not be as bad as you might think...I would have hope'," The Australian daily quoted him as saying.
Tata said he expects China to move towards democracy. He said many democracies would also have to find ways of "enforcing what they want to do if they want to move forward".
Tata said that Australia and India should step up bilateral trade ties, especially in high-technology areas adding that there were good reasons for the countries to "do much more together than they have done".
"Australia is a vibrant economy," Tata said. There were areas of high technology where Australia was "at the forefront" and India could benefit from this.
"India seeks some of the technology that Australia produces," the 74-year-old chairman of Tata Group said.
At the same time, he said India had a much larger population of some 350 million middle class consumers, which would grow as high as 600 million.
Trade between Australia and India has soared over the past decade, growing from USD 3.1 billion in 2000 to more than USD 21 billion in 2011.
Demand for Australian commodities such as coal, wool and copper is driving the trade, but education is also a large and growing aspect of the relationship.
"It would be terrific to see Australian companies have products which could have access to a market of that scale," Tata said.
He said there needed to be more interchange between the people of Australia and India, including student exchanges and internships.
"There needs to be a greater bonding of people, which will come from such moves," he said.
Tata said he would like to see his company do more business with Australia. At the moment, its main business in Australia is buying iron ore and coking coal.
Tata said India was "slowly deteriorating in the fabric of its values and ethics, especially in the business community".
But he said the Tata Group was based on strong ethics and would not participate in corruption and bribery. Tata said India had had many changes of government, but the outlook "might not be as bad as you might think".
"I would have hope," he said. Tata expects China to move towards democracy. He said many democracies would also have to find ways of "enforcing what they want to do if they want to move forward".
Tata Group is India's largest corporation with an annual turnover of more than USD 80 billion a year.
The group includes software, chemical and steelmaking operations. It owns Jaguar and Land Rover, and produces India's small car, the Nano. Tata also owns the Taj hotel chain.
Vice-Chancellor Fred Hilmer described Tata as "a brilliant businessman both in India and internationally" and a "driving force behind the resurgence of India as an economic and world power".
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