For the last seven to eight years, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a discussion theme around the globe. Many countries envy its ambitious project to lay connectivity (physical and digital) infrastructure around the world. However, now, Mukesh Ambani, the richest man of Asia, is planning a clean digital connectivity infrastructure to connect the whole of Asia and Europe to counter China’s BRI. Reliance Jio will implement two systems – India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) and India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) – to connect India with Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Europe.
“IAX and IEX will enhance the ability for consumer and enterprise users to access content and cloud services in and out of India,” said Reliance Jio in its official statement.
“For the first time in the history of fiber optic submarine telecommunications, these systems place India at the centre of the international network map, recognising India’s increased importance, staggering growth and the quantum shift in data use since the launch of Jio services in 2016,” it added.
Reliance Jio’s ambitious digital infrastructure project would put India at the centre of Asia and Europe. The project would be as ambitious as China’s BRI and is expected to become the new centre of talks around the world in the next decade. With the 5G technology at the forefront in the next decade, digital connectivity would become the driving point of the future economy and acquire more importance than physical connectivity.
“Jio is at the forefront of India’s explosive growth in digital services and data consumption. To meet the demands of streaming video, remote workforce, 5G, IoT, and beyond, Jio is taking a leadership role in the construction of first-of-its-kind, India-centric IAX and IEX sub-sea systems,” said Mathew Oommen, President of Reliance Jio.
“Implementing these critical initiatives in the shadow of a global pandemic is a challenge, but the ongoing pandemic has only accelerated the digital transformation and the necessity of high-performance global connectivity for the delivery of a richer experience to enterprises and consumers,” the President of Reliance Jio added.
Turning India into a provider of digital connectivity around the world, Reliance Jio’s infrastructure will significantly increase India’s influence in Asia and Europe. This project will aid India’s ambition to become a global superpower and make the country one of the poles of the world along with the United States and China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping messed up the BRI due to his poor business leadership but under the leadership of Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Jio’s ambitious infrastructure project has a better probability of success. The leadership style of Mukesh Ambani epitomises the traditional Indian style of running a Hindu undivided family business. He involves himself in every large-scale project and is known for his ability to visualise, conceive and implement mega projects down to the last screw and nail.
Ambani has planned and overseen some of the country’s most grand projects, including the Rs 15,000 crore Reliance Petroleum plant in Jamnagar, the single biggest investment in India, post-liberalisation. He is a workaholic persona, with a low profile and hardly interacts with the media except on the company’s annual day functions. And, he is known to work for a monopoly in the markets, similar to his father Dhirubhai Ambani.
In his early days of business, Dhirubhai Ambani monopolised the thread-making business, and now Mukesh Ambani is himself doing the same in the telecommunication market. Since his company Reliance Jio entered the market with a 1GB free data and unlimited free calling package throughout India, the prices of calling and data services have crashed. He was being compared to the freebie distributing Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu but was doing it with his own money, not the taxpayers’ money.
Within a year, Reliance Jio captured almost 20 per cent of the telecommunications market in India. Ambani’s style of doing business is the same in other markets too. Friends and rivals use only two words to describe Mukesh Ambani: ‘obsessive’ and ‘ruthless.’ Of late, another description of Ambani has been floated around: a ‘control freak, but of the positive kind.’ Mukesh Ambani revolutionised the telecommunications industry in India with the data rate being the lowest in the world. Under the leadership of Ambani, the chances of the success of the recent project are good.