‘U.S.-China trade war — India missed its chances’

India has failed to capitalise on opportunities arising from the U.S.-China trade war, according Larsen and Toubro (L&T) chairman A.M. Naik.

“For two years, the U.S. President was talking about moving industries out of China. How many have come to India? We were busy with elections, and we did not do anything, but we should do something now.

The government should now keep its promises made during the elections,” said A.M. Naik on the sidelines of the company’s AGM on Thursday. “In the trade war between the U.S. and China, a number of industries have shifted to Thailand and Vietnam, but why not to India? asks Mr. Naik.

On the slowing economy, Mr. Naik said: “Growth is going to be not more than 6.5% this year. My feeling is that though they claim it is 7%-plus, if we can maintain 6.5%, we will be lucky. I think the government knows the economy is slowing.” It would take a year or a year-and-a-half before accelerated spending for development comes.

On ballooning debts of India Inc., Mr. Naik said: “The private sector is in challenging times in terms of investment; only one-third is able to keep what they have. A number of companies now need to sell what they have, to repay debt.”

He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to replicate his Gujarat model to expedite clearances for industry.