New Delhi: Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata has said any failure of the Indo-US nuclear deal would be a “serious setback” for India and could impact inflow of foreign direct investments to the country.
In an interview with Karan Thapar for Devil’s Advocate programme on television channel CNN-IBN, Tata said the civil nuclear deal with the US was in many ways the best possible thing that had happened to India in a long time.
Asked would it be a setback if the deal didn’t materialise, he said: “I believe it is a serious setback to India. I believe the only people happy to see this not happening are probably Pakistan and China.”
Apprehending implications on FDI inflows if the deal were to fail, Tata said: “I think it could because I think there would be repercussions and there would be reactions.”
The industry doyen felt a need for the present political system to change and take a re-look at ideologies.
On a question if the Left needed to reinvent itself, he declined a direct reply but said: “We all need to reinvent ourselves. Even the Vatican reinvents itself.”
Hitting out at political parties for “opposing for the sake of opposing,” Tata said: “I really do wish we could go back to the days when we had stronger coalitions or single parties in government and a two-party system in the House where you really dealt with issues and serious ideologies.”
Tata, whose Rs1 lakh car project at Singur is facing stiff political opposition, however, lauded West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and said it was because of the latter that the company had not moved out of the state.
“A lesser person would have succumbed to the political pressures. And let me tell you what that would have done...I would have just picked up my stakes and gone to another state. Three, four states are wooing us for that project,” he said.
“If I had a chief minister who was going to risk his political position to stand by what he had promised, then I was going to stand with him also,” Tata said, adding that he had seldom met a chief minister who was more sincere in his desire to improve his state than Buddhadeb.
Commenting on the delayed reforms in banking and insurance sector, he said it did not send out a “positive message”.
“India needs to be a more open financial economy. Therefore financial services, banking, insurance needs to be opened up,” he said.
Tata said the financial services needed to be opened up, while putting up a few constraints on market share so that domestic firms do not get dominated by foreign companies.
Asked if the government had talked more about reform than it has delivered, Tata said: “To some extent that could be true. It has been very vocal on reform.”
He, however, quickly added that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “has genuinely and seriously wanted to see the reform take place”.
“I think the political system has not allowed delivery of that reform to take place.”
Heaping praises on the PM as a man who is upright and of high ethical value, Tata said: “At the same time I think this government has not been able to perform as it could have or should have performed.”