India is one of the most sought-after investment destinations in the world and the recent landmark win in the elections for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party proves there is a strong and stable government in charge, promoting an ideal sense of security that investors look for in a destination.
The ties that bind India and the UAE as well as other nations in the Gulf are historical and continue to go from strength to strength. Multiple bilateral visits by leaders of the UAE and India to forge business and cultural ties in the past couple of years have further strengthened the bond. The UAE also bestowed the Zayed Medal on Modi, showing how strong the relationship is between both nations.
During the last term, the game changer for the Indian government was in recognising NRI investment as domestic investment, a fact not lost on the huge diaspora in the Gulf that is eager to do its bit in promoting and projecting Brand India.
The LuLu Group has had trade relations with India in the fields of food processing, exports and procurement for close to three decades. Its investments in India have since grown with the launch of the LuLu Shopping Mall in Kochi, India’s largest shopping mall. The group is looking to set up similar benchmarks in retail and hospitality in India. With this vision in mind, we have earmarked more than $2 billion (Dh7.34 billion) to build shopping malls, hotels, convention centres and food processing units across India.
The fact that projects initiated by the LuLu Group in India will generate more than 50,000 jobs makes me happy and the task at hand more exciting and fulfilling.
The launch of the LuLu Bolgatty International Convention Centre and Grand Hyatt in Kochi last year was part of the drive. One of Asia’s largest, the convention centre targets India’s burgeoning MICE sector. New malls in various stages of completion are also slated for launch starting next year, with Lucknow and Thiruvananthapuram in 2020 and other malls in Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad following suit. Each of these projects presents world-class shopping and leisure facilities to a growing and aspiring section of Indian consumers.
The group is also looking at other markets across the country that attract India’s affluent, young and knowledgeable customer base, with the LuLu Cyber Towers in Kochi, home to some of the top global IT brands, providing employment opportunities that aid in the nation’s growth.
We all know the importance infrastructure holds in the all-round development of a nation. I am quite satisfied, therefore with having been one of the key promoters and investors of the Kochi International Airport, India’s first airport to be established through public-private partnership, as well as the Kannur International Airport, also in Kerala. I firmly believe that a successful businessman should not promote one’s own business interests alone but should explore ways and means to develop infrastructure facilities for the nation.
What I have always been vocal about is that business is never about money and profits, it is about people. The fact that projects initiated by the LuLu Group in India will generate more than 50,000 jobs makes me happy and the task at hand more exciting and fulfilling.
— The writer is Chairman and Managing Director, LuLu Group