India has emerged as one of the strongest performers in terms of deals related to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in recent months. According to data from Thomson-Reuters, total M&A deals involving Indian companies grew by 82 per cent to $27 billion during January to June 2016, which is the highest in the first six months in any year since 2011. These figures come at the back of some solid forecasts, with Fitch Ratings Agency predicting India′s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would grow by around 7.7 per cent in FY2016-17 and slowly accelerate to 8 per cent by FY2018-19. The manufacturing sector in the country contributes around 15 per cent of GDP. The Indian government, under the Make in India initiative, is trying to give a boost to the contribution made by the sector to take it up to 25 per cent of GDP. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said: “With rapid and continued economic growth of over 8 per cent over the next 30 years, we can have whatever best we see in the world.” It is against that bold mission statement that 'India Investment Journal' decided to shine the spotlight on the defence sector. As we explore in our cover story 'Lining up for a new start', it is about time India lost the dubious tag of being the world's largest arms importer despite being the world's fastest growing economy. And, it is the Make in India programme that holds fresh promise for the country's goal of self-sufficiency in the field. We also catch up with one of the leading Indian players in the sector, Baba Kalyani of Bharat Forge, to see why he believes the key lies in “know why” rather than know how. A senior former diplomat, Rakesh Sood, weighs up how the Indian government can create the right environment to help translate global interest in India's defence sector into collaborative ventures. Besides some of these highlights around our defence sector cover package, IIJ's latest edition comes packed with its usual range of interviews, special reports and guest columns. We come 'Face to Face' with India's food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to see what kind of foreign direct investment (FDI) she was able to lure back to India during a recent tour to the UK; a solar industry expert analyses India's renewables revolution; Nestle India gives its corporate social responsibility (CSR) perspective; and we take stock of the funds raised for Indian infrastructure through Masala Bond listings at the London Stock Exchange. As part of some Digital India updates, we review a Barclay′s report on India′s coding success and Amazon′s India head gives a presentation on how the company′s technological solutions are transforming lives in the country. Read on to delve into some of these exclusive features and more.
Aditi Khanna is the Senior Editor of India Inc.