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Rosling: India’s Business Landscape

Interviewee: Alan Rosling, Executive Director, Tata Sons
Interviewer: Lee Hudson Teslik, Assistant Editor, CFR.org
March 17, 2008

To some, India’s economy is a roaring tiger, characterized by heady annualized growth rates over 8 percent in recent years. Yet pessimists seize on an array of problems, from outdated business infrastructure to complex regulations that limit foreign investment in India. A recent Economist article slammed the Indian government for holding back the country’s businesses, saying New Delhi “makes a big claim on a poor country’s resources but then uses them badly.”

Alan Rosling is the executive director of Tata Sons, the primary holding company of Tata Group, the Indian-based conglomerate. Rosling discusses how government problems affect Tata’s businesses. “We would love to have the infrastructure of China and the speed of response of the Singapore government,” he says. “That’s not the reality.” Nonetheless, Rosling gives a broadly optimistic view of Indian growth prospects, noting that many significant reforms are already under way.

Rosling also addresses how the current business climate affects Tata’s businesses, which operate in eighty different countries. He describes the complications posed by currency risk, noting that the falling dollar squeezes exports from India but adding that the company has a “natural hedge,” given how broadly internationalized its operations have become.

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