"When I went to university in 1991, nobody knew India...that is not the case now thanks to you people," he said addressing the annual general meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industries here.
India, Gandhi, said is bursting with optimism and ideas.
The 42-year-old Congress scion, formally addressing a gathering such as this for the first time, said: "We tend to think of India as a nation, but if we go back 100 years, India was actually a energy...a force".
Industry chamber CII's annual general meetings over the years have seen many political bigwigs cutting across party lines making an appearance to enunciate their vision for economic growth. Congress president and Rahul's mother Sonia Gandhi had made at least two showings at the annual conference in the past.
This year's AGM was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday.