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Business unusual for Indian tycoons during Obama visit

US President Barack Obama will literally mean business as he kicks off his strategic Indian visit this week by becoming the high-point of an intensive brainstorming on bilateral business ties spanning policy, small business, leadership and entrepreneurship issues. Gaurav Choudhury reports. Beyond frontiers

business Updated: Nov 01, 2010 10:38 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

US President Barack Obama will literally mean business as he kicks off his strategic Indian visit this week by becoming the high-point of an intensive brainstorming on bilateral business ties spanning policy, small business, leadership and entrepreneurship issues.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will be joined by US commerce secretary Gary Locke in a day-long summit of five sessions that will drill down details on trade and investment relations to unprecedented levels.

Obama will have in tow a 250-member team that will include the who’s who of American business — most of whom head corporations — whose revenues are higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) of several countries.

Obama will deliver a special address at a business summit in Mumbai on Saturday, organised by industry body US India Business Council (USIBC) comprising top tier companies of both the countries.

The US President’s address, scheduled at 5 pm will be preceded a string of meetings between industry captains and government officials. The summit’s theme: US-India commercial relationship: a two-way highway creating jobs and opportunities for both societies.

Mukherjee and Locke will address the 45 minute session, followed by three panel discussions of 45 minutes each covering a broad range of issues.

The themes of each of these panel discussions have been tentatively titled as: “India’s approach to growth, bilateral engagement through trade and investment, expanding integrated supply chains to small and medium enterprises, elevating the relationship: the path towards implementation, and next generation leadership: the future of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO, GE, Terry McGraw, chairman and CEO, The McGraw Hill Companies, Indra Nooyi, president and CEO, PepsiCo, W James (Jim) McNerney, Jr, chairman of the board, president and CEO, Boeing Company, David M Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell, Louis Chenevert, chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corporation, William Cohen, chairman, The Cohen Group, Nelson Cunningham, managing partner and co-founder, McLarty Associates, Frank G Wisner, foreign affairs adviser, Patton Boggs LLP, Paul Hanrahan, president and CEO, AES Corporation and Alex Karp, co-founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies are among those who are likely to accompany the US President to India.

"India is in focus, not only because it is a growing market but also because Indian industry is creating jobs elsewhere, including the US," said a top Indian industrialist, expected to be present at the summit on Saturday, who did not wish to be identified.

Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumarmangalam Birla, Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani, Mahindra and Mahindra vice chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra and Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej are among those who are expected to attend the summit.

Beyond frontiers