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Vibrant Gujarat Summit: Fostering global collaboration, and vision for the future

World Tuesday 09/January/2024 08:50 AM
By: Agencies
Vibrant Gujarat Summit: Fostering global collaboration, and vision for the future

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the grand Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show on January 9, a day before opening the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Summit.

Sprawling across 2 lakh sqm on Gandhinagar's Helipad Ground, this business bonanza welcomed visitors before unveiling its treasures to the public. 20 nations, including Australia, South Korea, Singapore, UAE, UK, Germany, Norway, Russia and Japan, are participating in the show. 100 countries as a whole are participating as visiting countries in the Vibrant Gujarat summit, while 33 are joining as partners.

During the inauguration, the Indian Prime Minister launched an e-coffee table book, "The Summit of Success," chronicling the state's journey towards realising its fullest potential. A "Commemorative Coin" marked the inaugural summit of this special Amritkal edition, while a "Commemorative Stamp" celebrated the summit's two-decade legacy. Further solidifying the event's significance, the Prime Minister also launched a research report by the industrial association, analyzing the Vibrant Gujarat Summit's 20-year impact on the state's economy.

Over 1,000 research exhibitors illuminate scientific advancements, while diverse sectors showcase cutting-edge products. The trade show presents the latest products and services across various sectors, including ceramics, chemicals and petrochemicals, gems and jewellery, agro and food processing, automobiles and auto components, pharmaceuticals and ports.

Currently booming and promising industries like textiles and garments, electric vehicles, green hydrogen, aircraft and allied industries, renewable energy, semiconductors and ESDM, fintech, cybersecurity, AI, and machine learning will be the main attractions of the trade show. Visitors can explore an e-mobility pavilion, a hub for insights into electric vehicles, sustainable transportation solutions, and the crucial charging infrastructure paving the way for a greener tomorrow.

Spanning 13 thematic halls, the vibrant trade show boasts a mosaic of Indian ingenuity. "Make in Gujarat" and "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat" take centre stage, fuelled by the passionate participation of 450 MSME units, all striving to realize the Prime Minister's vision of self-reliance. The exhibition shines a spotlight on empowering women, nurturing MSMEs, and championing the future with dedicated spaces for new technology, green infrastructure, sustainable energy, and IT startups.

Interactive "reverse buyer-seller meets" and vendor development programmes ignite growth opportunities, cementing this trade show as a crucible for India's bright future. The show also features a unique Gujarat Experience Zone, blending ancient culture, lively art, and contemporary marvels to tell the captivating story of the state's rich heritage. It invites the world to witness this engaging narrative.

Indian Prime Minister Modi also engaged in a series of bilateral meetings with several visiting heads of state, including the prominent leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Timor-Leste, and Mozambique. Prime Minister Modi extended a helping hand to Timor-Leste, offering assistance in various key areas including capacity building, human resource development, crucial sectors like IT and fintech, as well as energy and healthcare, encompassing both traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals.

Modi invited Timor-Leste to join the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, demonstrating India's commitment to regional cooperation. President Horta reciprocated by offering strong support for India's bid for permanent membership in the UN Security Council. The leaders shared warm discussions, with Modi congratulating Horta on Timor-Leste's impending ASEAN membership and expressing hope for its speedy full integration. In return, Horta sought India's continued support in realizing Timor-Leste's development goals, particularly in strengthening healthcare and IT capacities.

Later, the meeting with Mozambique President Nyusi yielded productive discussions on a diverse range of bilateral matters. From bolstering defence and counter-terrorism cooperation to fostering trade, investment, and cultural exchange, the leaders identified numerous areas for collaboration. Prime Minister Modi even suggested enhancing air connectivity as a catalyst for growth in business, cultural understanding, and closer people-to-people ties. The discussions wrapped up with reaffirming cooperation on global issues within multilateral forums like the UN.

Later, on January 10, the Prime Minister also inaugurated the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Gandhinagar's Mahatma Mandir. Under the theme "Gateway to the Future", this edition celebrates two decades of the summit's success while also looking ahead.

Born in 2003 to revitalise Gujarat's allure for investors, the Vibrant Gujarat Summit has blossomed into a vibrant assortment of international collaboration and progress. Beyond attracting capital, it now weaves together solutions for global socio-economic development, fostering knowledge exchange and forging potent partnerships. For example, the 2018 edition based around the theme "Shaping A New India" spun a web of discussions at global, national, and state levels, all with the keen thread of all-encompassing economic development for a reinvigorated India. The summit has long transcended its initial purpose, becoming a vital forum for crafting a brighter future for both Gujarat and the world.

The three-day event is a catalyst for Gujarat's ambitious vision: to become India's most developed state by 2030, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in the world. It aims to achieve this by leveraging Gujarat's manufacturing prowess and economic might to bridge the gap between global investors and India's potential. The event attracts the world's brightest minds to spark innovation, share best practices, and explore their application for both Gujarat and the nation as a whole. Ultimately, this platform for global business networking is expected to empower India to compete on the world stage.

The summit serves as a platform for business leaders, policymakers, and investors to explore opportunities for investment, collaboration, and partnership in various sectors of the economy. The event is designed to encourage discussions, negotiations, and agreements in sectors such as energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, information technology, agriculture or healthcare. During the Vibrant Summit series, thousands of MOUs were signed and billions of dollars were invested in Gujarat. For example, 7936 MoUs were signed in the 2011 version, totalling USD 462 billions of promised investment.

Twenty years ago, Gujarat faced a series of devastating challenges. Before the catastrophic earthquake that claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions, the state was already reeling from a prolonged famine. Amidst this immense suffering, the Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank collapse triggered economic chaos, threatening the financial sector. The harrowing Godhra incident sparked widespread violence, painting a grim picture of a region in crisis. Critics predicted mass exodus and economic collapse, attempting to portray Gujarat as a burden on the nation.

Despite his limited experience as Chief Minister, Narendra Modi remained confident in Gujarat and its people. Modi envisioned not just reconstruction but a brighter future for his state. The Vibrant Gujarat Summit became a crucial tool in this vision. It served as a platform to bolster Gujarat's confidence, showcase its decision-making capabilities, attract global investment, highlight India's industrial potential, and celebrate its cultural heritage. By aligning the summit with the festive spirit of Navratri and Garba, Gujarat transformed industrial development into a vibrant celebration. Today, as we reflect on two decades since the earthquake, it's clear that Gujarat's story is one of resilience, optimism, and unwavering faith in its people and potential.

The story of Vibrant Gujarat's success is etched in its remarkable growth trajectory. From a modest launch in 2003 with just 100 attendees, a handful of participating countries, and a mere 30 exhibitors, it has blossomed into a global phenomenon. Today, it attracts over 40,000 participants, representatives from 135 countries, and showcases more than 2,000 exhibitors, solidifying its position as a premier platform for business and investment. This exponential growth over the years stands as a testament to the summit's effectiveness in driving economic development and forging international partnerships.

The success of Vibrant Gujarat can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, the initial idea was bold and innovative – a business and investor summit for a single Indian state was unheard of at the time. Over time, its success proved the concept's value, inspiring other states to follow suit. Secondly, the imagination behind the collaboration with a developed country as a partner nation was daring and visionary, showcasing Gujarat's ambition on a global stage. This combination of a novel idea and courageous execution laid the foundation for Vibrant Gujarat's remarkable achievements.

Vibrant Gujarat Summit has transformed into a self-sustaining institution. Its system and process operate smoothly year-round, independent of changing leadership and personnel. Even as Chief Ministers rotated and veteran officials retired, new generations shaped by their initial exposure to Vibrant Gujarat in 2001 have risen through the ranks and now manage the state. Despite the passage of time, one thing remained constant: Vibrant Gujarat continued to soar to new heights. This enduring success lies in its institutionalized processes.

Gujarat's identity in the 20th century was primarily defined by its role as a "trader state," relying on buying and selling goods for commission. However, the 21st century has seen a dramatic shift. Gujarat has transformed into a multifaceted powerhouse, combining its historical trading prowess with agricultural strength, a booming financial hub, and a robust industrial and manufacturing ecosystem. This change has been fuelled by successful events like Vibrant Gujarat, fostering innovation and attracting thousands of investments and success stories. Effective policymaking and efficient project implementation have further spurred growth, particularly in textiles, automobiles, chemicals, and other sectors. This remarkable progress is evident in the 9 times surge in automobile investment and a 12 times increase in manufacturing output since 2001.

Gujarat's economic prowess shines brightly across diverse industries. It leads the nation in food processing with over 30,000 operational units, while also carving a niche in innovative pharma, holding over half the market share in medical devices and boasting 80% of cardiac stent production. Its sparkling success extends to gems and jewellery, processing over 70% of the world's diamonds and contributing a staggering 80% to India's exports. The Morbi region reigns supreme in ceramics, claiming a 90% market share with 10,000 units churning out tiles, sanitary ware, and more. Gujarat's export muscle flexes with $2 billion worth of goods reaching global markets, and it readies to tackle the future with a focus on defence manufacturing.

Prime Minister Modi, however, cautioned that it would be unwise to rest on these laurels. While celebrating two decades of Vibrant Gujarat's remarkable success, it is useful to remember that the next 20 years hold even greater significance. As Vibrant Gujarat turns 40, India will approach its 100th year of independence. This is a pivotal moment for India to chart a decisive roadmap that will propel us onto the world stage as a developed and self-reliant nation by 2047.