Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi Image Credit: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, LuLu Financial Holdings

Adeeb Ahamed

LuLu Financial Holdings is aggressively transforming our investments to serve the future of financial services through strategic partnerships. Our focus on building our Open API platform model for remittances and banking are already seeing results, and 2023 will be the year where we will accelerate growth by partnering with multiple financial institutions (FIs). Other areas that we are working on from a global perspective includes enhancing user experience and features on our apps, and exploring the e-wallet space with our proprietary digital solutions. We are also keen to see the impact of UAE’s transformational initiatives such as the Instant Payments Platform (IPP) under the National Payment Systems Strategy (NPSS).

We have a presence in over 35 locations across India, and in 2023 we will be expanding our presence in the Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) sector under LuLu Finserv, by opening new branches in various parts of the country. We will also be expanding our outward remittance and forex business under LuLu Forex. There will also be renewed focus on driving digital assets that can complement the physical locations.

Surender Singh Kandhari, Chairman, Al Dobowi Group and Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara Dubai

Surender Singh Kandhari

India is sitting on the cusp of rapid economic growth primarily due to a host of initiatives taken by the government.

While each key sector is experiencing growth, SMEs and unorganised sectors have tremendous potential to drive growth in the future. In line with the digitalisation policy of the government, even the unorganised sector has started to move from cash to digital transactions, which is bringing them more in the mainstream of the economy.

The leadership role played by India in the recent geopolitical crisis has also had its own economic benefit. All these parameters finally translated into a rapidly growing stock index.

Al Dobowi Group is growing its footprints in India primarily in two areas — tyre manufacturing and distribution, and industrial battery manufacturing.

The group has also committed to a very significant investment in both these business verticals.

Pranav Sinha, Head — Middle East, VFS Global

Pranav Sinha

With the restart of travel after a gap of nearly two years, we have seen an unprecedented rise in demand for visas. In the UAE, we have seen about 25 per cent increase in application numbers over 2019.

We expect the trend of increased international travel to continue in 2023, with innovation remaining key to all businesses in this space, going forward.

Sustainable tourism is another concept that is here to stay. Agility remains the key driver of growth for businesses.

Contactless and Do it Yourself (DIY) technologies have gained prominence. VFS Global brought several of its passport services closer to home for residents through temporary set-ups to provide ease of access to services.

At-home services gained the most popularity during the pandemic, and their demand continues to rise. In the UAE, we have seen a 50 per cent growth in our Visa At Your Doorstep service in 2022.

India is where VFS Global started operations, and remains among the fastest growing outbound markets in the world, making it a continued focus market for us. We are constantly looking for expansion opportunities and working on technological innovations that will provide more seamless services for our applicants in India, as well as other parts of the globe.

Raju Gidwani, Executive Director, Shankar Trading Company

Raju Gidwani

Aligning with international standards, Indian manufacturers have started producing products to cater to the trends and demand of the global market. Encouraging and motivating them to do so has been our key focus over years. We will continue to procure more products from India to cater not only to the Indian diaspora in the UAE but also the mainstream market.

Consistent investments, entrepreneurship across sectors and liberal business policies have driven growth in Indian economy.

On the occasion of Republic Day of India, we are running various promotional activities in most of the retail stores in the UAE so that not just Indians but other communities can also join us in the celebrations.

We are born in a great nation, and we must always be thankful for it. Wishing all a very Happy Republic Day!

Dr K P Hussain, Chairman and CEO, FMC Healthcare Group

Dr K P Hussain

Our learning over the past two and a half decades has helped us move forward and we are now ready to offer services to other GCC nations and elsewhere in collaboration with insurance companies. We have the target to enter five countries in 2023 and offer the same level of services as in the UAE. At least 80 per cent of population in the targeted countries must be in need of insurance services and they will benefit from our coverage by paying a small premium.

The UAE has signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India, which will further strengthen both economies. This agreement not only focuses on economic partnership but it also drives socio-cultural relations benefiting people and businesses in numerous other ways.

After the pandemic, Fathima Healthcare Group has launched various ventures in India. Investments worth INR4 billion in a convention centre, 5-star hotel and a shopping centre are in the pipeline. We are also constructing a Roman theatre near the Calicut Airport, which will host cultural events, government and educational activities. The concept of building a Roman theatre is to provide a platform that encourages free-thinking, and the exchange of ideas and philosophies. The theatre can act as the epicentre of the community and play a huge role socially by bringing people together. Work is already underway in all of these projects.

Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner, Al Maya Group

Kamal Vachani

On the occasion of India’s 74th Republic Day, I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to the nation. I hope that UAE-India bilateral relations will continue to strengthen.

Significantly, the 74th Indian Republic Day coincides with a time when India – UAE relations have reached a new high. The signing of CEPA and bilateral economic and trade relations between the two countries have seen tremendous growth that will continue in the future.

Al Maya Supermarket is one of the leading supermarket chains in the UAE. Al Maya with multi-format stores has been serving customers for more than 40 years, enjoying a significant share of the UAE retail market.

Naresh K Bhawnani, Founder and Chairman, West Zone Group

Naresh K Bhawnani

From the retail FMCG business in the UAE, we have now diversified into the hospitality and real state sectors. We have recently opened a new hotel, Wescott, in Dubai, and many more new projects are coming up in 2023.

The key drivers of economic growth are land, labour, capital and personal consumption so we are focused on creating more employment by investing in new projects and boost the economies of both India and the UAE.

The Indian government has opened doors for FDI and we are interested in exploring investment opportunities and strategic partnerships in the future. I wish all the community members a very happy Republic Day.

Dr. Shareef Abdul Khader, Chairman of ABC Cargo

Dr. Shareef Abdul Khader

On this Republic Day, we, at ABC Cargo, would like to extend our warmest greetings to all Indians. On January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India came into effect. We are proud of our country and its people who have made us what we are today.

On this occasion, we pay our respects to the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Indian independence. Let us remember Dr. BR Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Constitution of India, who made our constitution a landmark of freedom, equality and justice.

At ABC Cargo, we are proud to be a part of this great nation and contribute to its development and growth through logistics services. We are honoured to serve the journey towards progress and prosperity. 

Sustainability is the future

Eugene Mayne, CEO, Tristar Group

Eugene Mayne

Not so long ago, sustainability was a token item on board agendas to balance the social and environmental price of profit. Today, it is — and should be — the top item because profit will not be possible without it. Business will not survive in a world in which people don’t. Sustainability must be embraced by every industry on a global scale, and I would like to highlight the efforts of the oil, gas and utilities sectors which I personally represent. Many traditional oil and gas companies have transformed so much to the point they now consider themselves energy companies, mobility companies, or even retail companies, as they diversify and expand with innovative business models and net zero goals.