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Mumbai, May 2: India Inc is all geared up to pitch for the slot of the ‘most favoured sub-contractor’ for American companies as initial reconstruction orders pour in from US-occupied Iraq.
Vying for a piece of the action, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has decided to set up a base in war-ravaged Baghdad, CII president Anand Mahindra said today.
Significantly, the task force on Iraq will be headed by Subir Raha, chairman of ONGC, a public sector oil exploration firm, which has considerable experience in Iraq.
“We’ll be adopting the consortium approach,” Mahindra said in his maiden address as the CII president.
“CII will work with the United Nations, the United States and other international agencies in their effort to rebuild the country,” he said.
About 40 member-companies of CII have lined up for business opportunities arising out of the rebuilding effort, he added.
Mahindra said: “Indian companies would be happy to corner business flowing out of sub-contracts. We will promote sub-contracting and hope to be the most competitive in this sector. We are well positioned to get the contracts.”
The 40 Indian companies identified by CII are mostly in the construction, transportation, pharma and healthcare businesses.
Global construction major Bechtel bagged the first order for the reconstruction of Iraq when it won a multi-million dollar contract from the US government for rebuilding runways and other damaged sites in Iraq.
More such orders are expected to flow from Iraq with almost all the orders being going to American companies.
On why Indian companies could not secure any big contracts for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, Mahindra said the major hurdle for Indian business there was one of logistics.
Citing an instance, he said, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan head of state saw an advertisement of Mahindra’s MUV Scorpio in a local magazine. He wanted the new vehicle and wondered how to get it. “If we had to supply it, we would have to take it to Afghanistan from Iran which is a very long route.”
Earlier, Mahindra unveiled the CII action plan and expressed confidence that the government and industry could work as partners to achieve a sustained growth of 8 per cent.
While CII’s theme will continue to be ‘Competitiveness of India Inc’, Mahindra said the sub-theme would be ‘Building Indian MNCs’.