India: Modi's "make or break" year 

Held on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

With support from Allen & Overy


  • Madhur Jha (executive director and deputy CEO, senior global economist, Standard Chartered)

  • Dr. Anand Kumar (Union Bank of India) 

  • David Cornell (chief investment officer, Ocean Dial)

  • Dr Pallavi Roy (SOAS)

  • Sanjeev Dhuna (partner, Allen & Overy)



At the end of January, PM Narendra Modi spelled out “his elaborate vision for a gung-ho India” as (The Economic Times) put it, focusing on economic reform and an end to “high-level corruption”. Two weeks before that, the FT had called this a “make or break year for Modi’s India development dream” – warning of a “mood of glum caution” on the ground that contradicts official forecasts of 7-8% growth, substantially outstripping China.

So, who’s right? And what chance does the Modi/Jaitley team (which came in on a wave of Indophilia in mid-2014) have of delivering on a promise of sustained high growth and the emergence of India as a global tech giant?

We have looked at India before (in April 2013), but it is always worth another visit. We are, therefore, delighted to have been able to put together a distinguished panel to argue over the perennial mystery that is the Indian economy:

  • Anand Kumar is executive director and deputy CEO at Union Bank of India in London, which he joined in mid-2013 from the Bank of Baroda. Prior to that, he spent eight years with ICICI in India and the UK.

  • Madhur Jha is senior global economist at Standard Chartered, which she joined from HSBC in 2013. Her responsibilities include coordinating global economic forecasts and developing cross-border research.

  • David Cornell is Chief Investment Officer at Ocean Dial, a London-based asset management company that is focused on India, running several equity funds. Prior to joining Ocean Dial (where he arranged an MBO in 2013), he was an Emerging Market fund manager with Henderson Global Investors.
  • Pallavi Roy is Lecturer in International Economics at SOAS’s South Asia Institute. Her research interests include the economic performance of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu states in India and Pakistan and the impact of liberalisation.

  • Sanjeev Dhuna is a partner at A&O, where he is a core member of the Africa and India Groups, acting on a broad range of cross-border structured banking transactions.  

India is potentially one of the brightest stars in the investment sky, but it has disappointed many times before. Is the present government going to break the mould?