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Davos: Indian presence not that high profile

business Updated: Jan 28, 2012 17:05 IST
commerce and industry minister

As the yearly five-day gathering of rich and powerful of the world for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting passes its half-way mark in Davos, the India growth story has yet again emerged strong, but the same does not appear to be the case in terms of high profile presence.

The Indian presence is quite strong in numbers, with more than 100 business heads, about half a dozen ministers, led by commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, as also some other people, making it to close to 200. But in comparison, many other countries have got a much more impressive line up, including their heads of states.

India's neeighbouring country Pakistan also saw its Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, as also two top ministers, foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar and finance minister Afdul Hafeez Shaikh mark their presence, while cricketer-turned-politician and a PM-aspirant Imran Khan is also in Davos, besides some business leaders.

Along with the top leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron, the heads of state from Cananda, Finland, Denmark, Mexico and about three dozen other countries were present.

US President Barack Obama is not at the venue, but a number of top leaders, including treasury secretary Tim Geither has come, while the number of US CEOs is huge at more than 400.

The organisers say that they have seen a record participation of over 2,600 business and political leaders and other eminent persons this year's summit which began on January 25 and ends on Sunday.

From Indian corporate world also, a few regular names are missing. While Mukesh Ambani pulled out of a scheduled session at the last moment, regulars like Anand Mahindra and Chanda Kochhar are also absent this time.

Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia also could not make it, despite being named among panelists at a session. Among the ministers, Ashwawni Kumar, Jyotiraditya Scidia and Sachin Pilot have come, but another regular Kamal Nath could not.

Among business leaders, Naresh Goyal only made a brief appearance at an Indian reception on Friday night, but Vijay Mallya is yet to be seen. SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri has also come mid-way and was scheduled to address a session.

Those present include Sunil Mittal, Uday Kotak, Rahul Bajaj, Sanjiv Bajaj, Azim Premji, Tulsi Tanti, Vineet Nayar, while IT companies like Infosys, TCS and Mahindra Satyam have got their senior executives including their CEO here at Davos.

Asked about the low-key India presence, CII director general Chandrajit Bannerjee said the presence was not bad at all with about 110 CEOs and the industry minister himself.

"We do have a strong presence here and you can also see a strong focus on India in such global economic times," he said.