Bringing India Closer

Neelivethil Rajeev, Managing Director (ME and SAARC), ESPA Spain
Neelivethil Rajeev, Managing Director (ME and SAARC), ESPA Spain

The country is future-ready and is taking giant strides as it sets its sight on ambitious goals



By Neelivethil Rajeev

Published: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 9:00 AM

Enjoying the perks of not only being the world’s largest democracy but a country with untapped and unlimited growth potential, India has consolidated its position as one of the world’s biggest economies, with an appetite to grow even more. By opening the economy to foreign direct investments (FDI), relaxing norms to do business, multiple initiatives and programmes, the country has ensured that it doesn’t miss the growth bus. Today, Indians have played a vital role in the phenomenal evolution of the UAE, contributing to every sector of the economy and society. The achievement we celebrate today is the first step of the glorious future that awaits us as a nation. Today, on the felicitous occasion of the 74th Republic Day, I feel tremendous pride of the growing relationship between the UAE and India and hope that this partnership only continues to rise and seek new realms of cooperation.

India: A Manufacturing Hub

A globally competitive manufacturing sector is India's greatest potential to drive economic growth and job creation this decade. Due to factors like power growth, long-term employment prospects, and skill routes for millions of people, India has a significant potential to engage in international markets. Manufacturing sector in India is gradually shifting to a more automated and process-driven manufacturing, which is expected to increase the efficiency and boost production of the manufacturing industry.

India is gradually progressing on the road to Industry 4.0 through the Government of India’s initiatives like the ‘National Manufacturing Policy’ which aims to increase the share of manufacturing in GDP to 25 per cent by 2025 and the PLI scheme for manufacturing which was launched in 2022 to develop the core manufacturing sector at par with global manufacturing standards.

Manufacturing has emerged as one of the high-growth sectors in India. I believe that the new ‘Make in India’ programme by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi to place the country on the world map as a manufacturing hub will give global recognition to the Indian economy.

India enjoys an abundant supply of skills, being home to one-fifth of the world’s young population. This will create a demographic dividend that could play a critical role in achieving the nation’s ambitious target to become a $5 trillion economy. These young people are driving a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity.

PM Modi has embarked on many projects of which an important project is to make India the skills capital of the world, which is done under the leadership of National Skills Development Council (NSDC). As part of our commitment to give back to the society, we have collaborated with the Government of Skills mission under the Government of India. In my capacity as an Advisor to the National Skill Development Corporation which is a part of the Government of India initiative to provide skilled manpower to the different countries, with the UAE being the prime focus. Furthering the cooperation between India and the UAE in the skill ecosystem in creating an ethical, legal and safe international mobility channel, NSDC International, through one of its subsidiaries, has opened an office in Dubai for better connectivity between the employer and skilled workforce. It is also a proud moment to be the Ambassador for the design hub for the MENA region of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI), which is a global platform of architects, designers and trade members representing six continents with a reach of quarter million designers reach across 76 countries.

India-UAE Partnership

During a virtual summit on February 18, 2022, the UAE and India sealed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) aiming to increase annual bilateral trade and services from the current level of $60 billion to $115 billion over the next five years. This major pact is set to become a real gamechanger boosting investment opportunities between countries and uncovering new avenues for collaboration.

Ushering Climate Change

The upcoming 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held at the Expo City, Dubai in November 2023. As a nation that is committed to international cooperation and positive action, the UAE is ready and willing to host this crucial global gathering with a clear sense of responsibility and a great sense of urgency. The UAE has been instrumental in tackling climate change. The nation has shown unwavering commitment towards investment projects aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate challenges, and more importantly, creating a positive economic impact for its people. I certainly think that this year will be very significant for the nation in gradually diversifying its economy by reducing the reliance on oil to strive towards a sustainable energy future. Our product, with its positive ecosystem, places a strong emphasis on sustainability and is now foraying into new markets and plans to increase its footprint in the country by launching new investments for product upgrades. Sustainability and energy saving are the core focus of our group for the next decade, and these significant steps can prove to be a great way of showing gratitude to the government for its investor-friendly policies.

ESPA and the UAE

In the field of hydro-pneumatics, pools, waterscapes and pumps, there are not many that can rival the expertise and recognition that ESPA, one of Europe’s leading brands, has accumulated over a period of four decades of operations within the region. At the helm of the Middle East and SAARC subsidiaries, the Spanish conglomerate, is already a strong contender in the retail, project, and pool market. The unique selling point (USP) for our brand has always been competitive pricing, technical competence, and effective after-sales service. Today, the company is predominantly very active in the Middle East in most sectors of construction, which focus on energy efficient products.

— Neelivethil Rajeev is the Managing Director for Middle East and SAARC for ESPA Spain and is well-known in the social and business community for the past 30 years.


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