The panel discussion included Mr Shashi Stalekar, a cotton expert and Vice President of the cotton division of Ahmedabad based - Sagar Associates, Mr Manohar Kanitkar, Country Head at US based Werner International, Mr G Punnaiah Choudary – Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Spinning Mills Association and finally Mr Thomas Nasiou - Vice President (Textile Technology) at Uster. The discussion was moderated by the India head of Uster – Mr V.R. Rathnam.
Before the start of the panel discussion, Mr Thomas Nasiou gave a brief background on the first ever two-day Uster Quality University – top management summit being held in India after receiving due success in China. He said that the main mission behind hosting this summit was to help their partners (spinners) in achieving excellence in bottom-line performance in their spinning mills through quality. He added that this summit would also prove to be a platform to share ideas and experiences among participants.
Mr Rathnam set the ball rolling by requesting each of the panelists to speak about the future of the Indian textile industry. Mr Kanitkar began by saying, “India is set to become the biggest producer of cotton in the world. However, we cannot continue to export raw cotton, but should add value by exporting yarns, fabrics or preferably apparels”.
Mr Punnaiah Choudary also expected the whole Indian textile value chain beginning from cotton to finished products to grow, considering that China is slowly exiting production of yarns. Fabrics may also follow the same trend sooner or later, he said. “I expect India to take pole position in the worldwide textile sector in the next four-five years”, he added.
Mr Stalekar was very optimistic about the future of the Indian textile industry. He was of the opinion that encouragement from various state governments to set up spinning mills as the one extended by Gujarat state would go a long way in adding value to raw cotton. “India’s competitive labour costs could help dislodge China as a textile power. Considering that currently India’s cotton prices are the lowest in the world, this could prove to be a boon to export yarn and fabrics from India”, he noted.
Mr Thomas Nasiou averred that great potential lay in the future of the Indian textile industry at least in the short to medium term. “The Chinese cotton policy has a great influence over businesses, which makes things to move extremely slowly. The current Chinese policy is not helping Chinese spinning mills to be competitive due to the high cotton prices and which is not set to change in the short term. The space vacated by Chinese spinners could benefit countries like India, Pakistan and other Asian countries”, he maintained.
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