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Air India Magazine, Vol 22, Issue 10, October 2012


The Horasis Global India Business Meeting was all about evolving new paradigms of growth and economic development

The fourth Horasis Global India Business Meeting took place in Antwerp, Belgium, early this year. The event saw an audience of 300 Indian and global entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials. With this meet, Horasis aimed to present an interdisciplinary and systemic view of the major economic, societal and technological drivers currently at work in India and the world. Horasis is an independent international organisation committed to enacting visions for a sustainable future. The flagship events are the Global India Business Meeting and meetings focusing on China, Russia and the Arab world.

The following co-chairs represented the meeting vis-a-vis the government, regional authorities and the general public: Sanjiv Ahuja, Chairman, LightSquared, USA; Subodh Bhargava, Chairman, Tata Communications, India; Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman, Cobra Beer Partnership, United Kingdom; Eddy Bruyninckx, Chief Executive Officer, Antwerp Port Authority, Belgium; Binod K. Chaudhary, President, Chaudhary Group, Nepal; Sunil Godhwani, Chairman and Managing Director, Religare Enterprises, India; Praveen P Kadle, Chief Executive Officer, Tata Capital, India; Rajive Kaul, Chairman, Nicco Group, India; Jason L. Ma, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ThreeEQ, USA; Sunil Kant Munjal, Jt Managing Director, Hero MotoCorp, India; Ajay G. Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Healthcare, India; Deepak Puri, Chairman & Managing Director, Moser Baer, India; Dhruv M Sawhney, Chairman, Triveni Engineering & Industries, India; Shivinder Singh, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Fortis Healthcare, India; Rajiv Vastupal, Chairman & Managing Director, Rajiv Petrochemicals, India.

The meeting focussed on the changing paradigms of the Indian economy and discussed a set of possible trajectories. In a vulnerable global economic environment, India remains one of the world’s growth engines. Its outward engagement in terms of trade and investment with the rest of the world continues at an elevated pace, and it is viewed as a land of opportunities. Yet, India faces myriad challenges of poverty and backwardness.

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, India, Anand Sharma, said, “partnerships of the size and scale of that between India and Europe are an important demonstration that by acting together, we can achieve more than we would alone.” “The prospect of concluding a Free Trade Agreement between India and the EU – possibly the single biggest free trade agreement in the world, between a total of 1.7 billion people, is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” the Minister said. He expressed confidence that “India would be attracting more direct investments from Europe this year, despite the gloomy world economy and India’s own economic challenges.”

Kris Peeters, Minister-President, Government of Flanders, Belgium, said that Europe has been doing a lot to address its sovereign debt problems. “India and Europe are natural partners in a globalised and changing world, and together, we can make a major contribution to finding and implementing solutions to common challenges,” he maintained. He told participants that “Flanders will serve as important base for Indian firms to explore the European Market”’

Panelists at the Meet examined how business leaders can best stimulate the Indian economy and identify growth opportunities in sectors such as IT, Infrastructure, energy and commodities, real estate and healthcare. They covered topics ranging from trade and investment, entrepreneurship to branding and technology. India was highlighted as a new centre of global trade, and provided insights on the best practices in education, social responsibility and philanthropy.

Despite the current difficulties on the investment and infrastructure front, India is successfully building an innovative economy. India is setting the pace for a new economic model that is increasingly defined by innovation. The main characteristic of this model is creating a climate for doing business that enables rapid expansion of the economic pie, accompanied by targeted government schemes fuelling income to those who need it most.

Indian business leaders are overhauling approaches towards innovation to take part in the promise of a networked global economy. “We are moving towards greater use of mobile technologies. And, we want to connect employees together and collaborate with external partners to facilitate innovation,” said one of the participating CEOs. “Innovation at all levels of economic activity is the key element of the new Indian growth model.”

India’s services-based growth spurt may have run much of its course. Its impressive that those achievements in ICT have been possible but these economically segregated islands of higher productivity suggest that success is achieved by separating oneself from the broader Indian economy, not by integrating with it. Indeed, even the major ICT production centres like Bangalore, Hyderabad or Pune could not transfer the benefits of technology to other economic sectors.

Ambitious Indian firms want to become branded players in developed markets. Panelists reasoned in a session entitled “Making Made in India a preferred tag” what it will take to establish brand awareness overseas and how to build sustainable brands. Participants agreed that most Indian firms have only just begun the process of global integration, building popular brands. What India as a country in general and Indian firms in particular should do more is an active promotionof its business interests overseas to tell the kind of good.


Horasis is a global visions community committed to enact visions for a sustainable future. (http://www.horasis.org)

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