Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has broken into the elite club of the world’s ten most powerful people in 2015, according to the seventh annual ranking of ‘The World’s Most Powerful People ’ published by Forbes magazine. The list, that features 73 people, was released in New York on November 4.
Modi, whose National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in May 2014 with an overwhelming majority, has been one of the most visible global leaders in the last year. With a mandate to reset the country’s economic agenda to spur growth, Modi has been travelling the world with an aim to position India high on the global economic and political landscape, by meeting international political and business leaders and the Indian diaspora in countries and continents including the US, UK, Australia and Japan.
Modi has also become an international political figure to reckon with as the Indian economy has been growing, in comparison to a stagnating (albeit much larger Chinese economy). This has meant that a lot of international investors, who were looking at China earlier, are now focusing on India.
In the 2014 edition of the rankings, India’s 65-year-old prime minister was ranked 15 and he has climbed six places this year to be placed nine. Russian President Vladmir Putin retained his position as the world’s most powerful man for the third year in a row. German Chancellor Angela Merkel moved up three spots from last year to be placed second, while US President Barack Obama dropped a spot to number three, making him the first sitting US president not be ranked in the top two. Pope Francis retained his place as the fourth most powerful person and Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, lost two positions to be placed fifth.
The only other Indian to feature in the list is billionaire Mukesh Ambani; the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), who is also the richest Indian, has been ranked 36. The oil-to-yarn and retail conglomerate, which is slated to enter the telecom space as well, reported a turnover of Rs 3,75,405 crore in FY15 and a net profit of Rs 23,566 crore, making it one of the largest corporations in the world.
(Reliance Industries Ltd owns Network 18, the publishers of Forbes India )