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Stage set for World Economic Forum

india Updated: Jan 21, 2007 11:28 IST
Highlight Story

It's the annual networking season once again for the world's top business honchos and decision makers in the scenic Alpine settings of Davos in Switzerland and India will be represented by a 100-member team led by Commerce Minister Kamal Nath.

This year's World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting from Jan 24-28 will focus on the shifting global power equation to reflect the issues that would shape the planet's agenda for 2007 when developing countries like India are emerging as key players.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of telephony and retail trade major Bharti group, is among the six co-chairs of the five-day meeting that will also see Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia address a special session.

R Seshasayee, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), WEF's India partner, heads the business delegation that includes Rahul Bajaj, NR Narayana Murthy, Anil Ambani, Vijay Mallya, KV Kamath, Anand Mahindra, Ramalinga Raju, Baba Kalyani and Azim Premji.

India's participation this year, even though not at the same dazzling level as in 2006, will include daily breakfast sessions on issues ranging from 'innovation' to 'involving society in industrialisation'.

The highlight of evening receptions will be Bollywood Nights featuring remixes of Indian film songs and sequences, even as the ministry of tourism will put up 19 hoardings in Zurich and Davos to highlight its 'Incredible India' campaign.

"There is a significant shift happening towards emerging economies as they start to integrate more rapidly into the global trading system," Nandan S Nilekani, a co-chair last year, said of the theme for this year's meeting.

"In 2005, they made up over 50 per cent of the increase in world output and are creating a new class of consumers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, policymakers. New opportunities have opened up in these economies."

Kamal Nath and Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), will also hold meetings with 30 trade ministers to revive the global trade talks that are held up due to differences between developed and developing nations.

"We will have the opportunity to map out the next steps in negotiations. I am confident India will display its leadership and make a constructive contribution to enter the last lapse of the WTO round," Lamy said at CII's partnership Summit in Bangalore last week.

The annual meeting will also provide the backdrop for interactions among some 25 heads of state or government, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, his Pakistani counterpart Shaukat Aziz and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ahead of the meeting, WEF also named 47 'Technology Pioneers', including three of Indian origin, in the fields of energy, biotechnology, health and information technology, who will also participate at the various sessions.

The three are Strand Life Sciences co-founder and chairman Vijay Chandru, Drishtee managing director Satyan Mishra and HelloSoft Inc founder and president Krishna Yarlagadda.

This apart, interactions have also been scheduled with some of the 250 'Young Global Leaders' named for this year by the forum, 25 of whom are from India.

Actor Aishwarya Rai, filmmaker Karan Johar, politicians Omar Abdullah, Naveen Jindal and Jyotiraditya Scindia, industrialists Sanjay Reddy, Tanya Dubash and Amit Burman and social leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Ramesh Ramanathan are among the Indians on this year's list.

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