The Strategic Partnership Policy (SPP) could throw open deals worth over $20bn to six selected private sector companies in India.

India’s defence forces will get their first fighter jets, submarines, helicopters and armoured vehicles made in India by the private sector within a few years. And it is entirely probable that friendly foreign countries could also be using some of these Made in India weapon systems.

A leading consultant analyses the factors that have made investing in India easier and a more rewarding experience as long as investors go in with a level of preparedness.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently altered its predicted growth rate for India slightly downward to 6.8 per cent, but this is still attractive compared to the sluggish rates of growth elsewhere in the world. Foreign investors’ confidence in India has also recently improved, making it the eighth most attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). Meanwhile India’s ranking in the World Bank’s league table for ‘ease of doing business’ is rising, albeit at 130 the improvement isn’t over yet!

These changes have been strongly influenced by the government’s attempts to make India a more attractive market by, for example, implementing demonetisation in November 2016, increasing online transactions and the planned introduction of a common nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July.

India can learn a lot from South Korea’s ascent from poverty in the 1950s to the ranks of the most technologically advanced societies especially in the fields of manufacturing, defence technology, electronics and skills development. And India can, in turn, help South Korea in areas like software and space technology that it excels in.

It is a warm and deepening economic and strategic partnership that could well become the template for India’s engagement with other geographically smaller but economically dynamic Asian Tigers.

South Korea has been in the news in India recently for three separate but loosely connected developments, all of them positive.

The Government of India recently unveiled its vision for India’s steel manufacturing capabilities by circulating a new draft steel policy for 2017 for public discussion and approval by the Cabinet, writes India Inc. policy expert.

India’s new draft ‘National Steel Policy of 2017’ is an outline for attaining a most ambitious target capacity of 300 million tonnes of crude steel capacity by 2030, which is anticipated as the demand for steel by then. India is producing only around a 100 million tonnes today while China, if we must compare, produces around 750/800 million tonnes a year – about 50 per cent of global capacity.

Rolls-Royce started its relationship with India over 80 years ago with its engines powering the first civil and military aircraft in the country. Chris Cholerton, President – Defence Aerospace at one of the world’s leading manufacturers in the sector, tells ‘India Investment Journal’ how a focus on technology and capability transfer has contributed towards India’s sustainable growth.

How is Rolls-Royce supporting the India growth story?

Today, as an investor, a high skills employer and a supplier of power systems across aerospace, marine, nuclear and industrial, we are developing a significant portfolio of activity in India to undertake progressively more complex activity across the engineering, manufacturing and supply chain domain. We believe in India’s inherent strengths and are well-positioned to support the government in its commitment to ‘Make in India’ and in other socio-economic initiatives such as ‘Smart Cities’ ‘Skilling’ etc.

The Indian defence-aerospace industry is taking baby steps in the world of aircraft, missile and radar development. There will be massive opportunities over the next decade for Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 firms in the West to form lucrative long-term JVs with Indian partners.

India is negotiating the sale indigenously designed Akash surface to air missiles to Vietnam. Almost simultaneously, the Government of India has also cleared a Rs 17,000-crore (($2.6 billion) agreement o jointly develop a medium range surface to air missile for the army in order to beef up its defence preparedness.

The Indian government’s goal to achieve self-reliance is on track, writes a senior adviser in the defence sector.

India’s defence budget has grown manifold over the last seven decades to $39 billion in 2017-18, which is around 1.6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

It is dubbed Asia’s largest air show and the 2017 edition of Aero India in Bengaluru recently proved the ideal showcase for the Indian government’s plans to transform India into a global manufacturing hub.

The highlight of this year’s Aero India was a dual role combat-capable Advanced Hawk jet trainer, developed jointly by the UK’s BAE Systems and India’s public-sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) being formally unveiled.

The rising popularity of Tata Motors owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) models led to a 15.8 per cent hike in car exports from the UK to India in 2016, the recent UK automotive industry figures released in London revealed.

India is now the eighth largest Asian market for UK car exports with JLR’s Land Rover Discovery Sport, Ranger Rover Evoque, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XE and Jaguar F-Pace among the top five most popular models with a growing number of “affluent buyers” in the country. The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), one of the UK’s largest trade associations, said the Indian demand formed part of a wider 17-year high for British car manufacturing last year.

A leading Indian industrialist traces the Gujarat development story and lays out the many opportunities in specific sectors for foreign investors.

As businesses prepare to deal with these bouts of uncertainty, they would obviously be looking for destinations that offer good prospects for growth and where policies are being calibrated to unlock potential of the domestic economy as well as reap benefits of aligning with regional value chains. India is one such country, perhaps one of the very few in the world, that fits into this category.

As we enter the year 2017 and review the global economic outlook, we see a horizon that is quite challenging. Global economic growth is still weak. Strategic and economic relations among major countries are undergoing a change. Global trade architecture is in for a makeover, with priorities being redefined by countries.