Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged global CEOs and top American executives to leverage the 'Startup India' innovation platforms to formulate solutions for the entire world on challenging issues like nutrition and waste management.
Chairing an exclusive roundtable with 42 global CEOs and top executives from across 20 sectors, Modi stressed on continued political stability in India, predictability of policy, and pro-development and pro-growth policies.
He emphasised the development of tourism, plastic recycling and waste-management initiatives, and to enhance the business of MSMEs, especially those which create more opportunities for farmers and agriculture.
The CEOs appreciated the efforts made by India in striving towards ease of doing business and many reforms that have led to a conducive environment for investors. They also lauded Modi for taking strong decisions and making India more investor-friendly.
"The leaders also mentioned that their companies remained committed to the growth story of India and, on the back of this, continued to grow their footprint in India," an official statement said after the meeting.
The CEOs briefly outlined their specific plans in India and put forth recommendations to aid India's efforts towards skill development, Digital India, Make in India, inclusive growth, green energy and financial inclusion.
The companies that participated in the roundtable had a combined net worth of USD 16.4 trillion, of which their net worth in India is USD 50 billion.
The CEOs Roundtable was attended by IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty, President and CEO of Walmart Douglas McMillon, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola James Quincey, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, JP Morgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, CEO of American Tower Corporation and co-chair of the India-US CEO forum James Taiclet, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga and Senior Executives from Apple, Google, Marriott, VISA, 3M, Warburg Pincus, AECOM, Raytheon, Bank of America and Pepsi.
Modi "urged the companies to leverage the Startup India innovation platforms in partnership with other countries -- to make solutions not only for India, but for the world, including challenging issues like nutrition and waste management,” the statement said.
The DPIIT- and Invest India-organised interaction included Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and senior officials from the department of promotion of industry and internal trade and the ministry of external affairs.
Following the roundtable, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said it is always great to hear from the prime minister about his vision for India.
The American banking giant has been in India for several years and has 20,000 teammates who work in the country.
"We are there to help support the pro-growth agenda that says consistency in rules and regulations, ease of doing business,” he said adding that the bank's clients and customers tell it “they are more and more interested so I think that bodes well for the country going forward”.
Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said Modi had a very “strong and impassionate ‘Come to India' speech” and his four D's of democracy, demography, demand and decisiveness are very powerful arguments to invest in India.
“We have already been convinced years before. We are in India, it's a very important growth country for us and we continue to invest to be a leading international energy company in India. We are well on our way to meeting the prime minister's expectations.”
Coca Cola chairman and CEO James Quincey said India is a big market for the beverage giant and it likes investing in the country.
"We think it's not just an important market for us, it's the 5th most important and we think it's going to become the third most important,” he said adding that Coca Cola is very excited about continuing to invest in the country and be in line with the growth agenda for the government.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty described the meeting with Modi as “outstanding” and said Modi is an “authentic leader who genuinely listens to everyone's input.”
She said she went into the meeting optimistic about India and came out “even more optimistic” about the country.
"His firm intent to continue to help with the ease of doing business is a win-win for both India and IBM,” she said.
Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson said the meeting the Modi was “excellent” and he was more than willing to have a dialogue with the CEOs. She congratulated India on its pro-growth policies.