A virtual conference titled ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self- Reliant India) was organized to showcase the aspects of Indian Automobiles with the highlight of the talk being on electric vehicles, on 25 November at the Embassy premises. This conference held by the Indian Embassy, in association with Invest India and the Engineering Exports Promotion Council (EEPC) was the fifth installment in a series of events spearheaded by the Indian Business Network (IBN).
The business communities of India and Kuwait lent their support to the event. Speaking during the event, the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait H.E. Sibi George noted that the auto sector is a key component of the Self-Reliant Indian initiative – a clarion call given by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and envisages a merger of the local with the global; an idea that ensures India’s strengths as a global force multiplier.
He added, “The innovative spirit is driving India’s auto sector, which is a pivotal pillar of India’s economy. What we see is a wide range of cars manufactured in India almost every major automobile company in the world. Jaguar to Land Rover, BMW to Benz, Hyundai to Honda, Toyota to Suzuki, Maruti to Ford, Mahindra and Mahindra to Tata Motors, and the little smart Nano, you name it, the list is endless”.
Pointing out that this transformation in the automobile industry is an example of the huge transformation that Indian economy has been witnessing in the last few years or decades, he added, “I am told that there are two vintage Indian Ambassador Cars plying in the roads of Kuwait these days. One of the small things that I plan to do one of these days is to organize a car rally of Indian vehicles in Kuwait led by these two Ambassador cars as part of the celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence day and 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Kuwait that we celebrate next year”.
India’s progress in automobile sector has been rapid. India is currently the world’s largest tractor manufacturer, largest heavy trucks manufacturer, largest two-wheeler and three-wheeler manufacturer, second largest bus manufacturer, third largest heavy truck manufacturer and fourth largest car manufacturer,” he remarked.
“India is expected to be the world’s third-largest automotive market in terms of volume by 2026. Auto sector has also been a major recipient of foreign direct investments attracting $24.5 billion FDI during 2000 to 2020. Innovation will also be the key driver towards making India a leader in environment- friendly technology for cars, he said. Laying a roadmap for the future of India’s mobility, Modi has said his vision for the future of mobility in India is based on 7Cs — common, connected, convenient, congestion free, charged, clean, cutting edge,” the Indian Ambassador George pointed out.
Highlighting the development of the Electric Vehicles sector, he underscored, “It is a key priority for the Indian government as it complements India’s investments and commitment towards renewable energy. It is part of our commitment to our heritage, our fight against climate change and our gift to the future generations. This strong commitment coupled by requisite policy initiatives by our government has resulted in electric vehicles segment witnessing tremendous growth in India.”
Praising the relations between India and Kuwait as historic and age old, he stated, “Our close bilateral relations are strongly anchored in civilizational linkages and nurtured by vibrant people-to-people contacts. And, trade/commerce has been an important pillar of this multifaceted relationship; India has consistently been among the top trading partners of Kuwait. Indian brands like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Maruti, Mahindra, and so on, are well known and the exceptional quality of Indian products are well acknowledged not only in the Kuwaiti market but also across the globe”.
He added, “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a major global disruptor of health, human lives, livelihoods and economies; and whilst humanity as a whole continues to grapple with this challenge of unprecedented proportions, it is important to remember that crisis situations often bring about the best in people.”
On his part, Cherif Cherif el Sayed, General Manager of BNK Automotiv, said in remarks to the audience that the drive for buying electric or hybrid cars has been performance and driving experience, and mentioned that Kuwait needs to build a charging infrastructure to serve the future clients as a collaborative effort within the country. He also noted encouraging the Kuwaiti market to adopt electric vehicles over combustion is an issue.