Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will kick-start the fourth Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Friday. Over the next two days, the summit will see a gathering of international and national heavyweights in diplomacy, politics, business, glamour and sport as they discuss India’s potential to become the next global superpower.
While Sonia will set the ball rolling by speaking on walking the tightrope of economic growth and social justice in her inaugural address, Singh’s keynote address is on the opportunities and challenges for India in the 21st century.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is the other head of state attending the Summit.
Indian politicians slated to speak on the first day are Minister for Industry and Commerce Kamal Nath, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley and CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury.
Jack Straw, leader of UK’s House of Commons, will deliberate on whether India poses a threat or opportunity to its neighbours.
His fellow Briton Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty, better known in this country as Neil Kinnock, will participate with Prachanda, the chairman of the Communist party of Nepal, to discuss the role of democracy in progress.
Former mayor of New York, Rudy Giulliani, will talk of the principles of leadership while Shashi Tharoor, the UN under secretary-general, and Yoriko Kawaguchi, the former foreign minister of Japan, will discuss India’s future role in global governance.
EU Commissioner for External Trade Peter Mandelson and Mel Bergstein, chairman of the Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, will participate in the session India as an Economic Superpower: the imperatives.
Business honchos will also mark their presence. From India, Vijay Mallya, chairman, UB Group; Anand Mahindra, managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra; Baba Kalyani, chairman and managing director, Bharat Forge; and Tulsi Tanti, chairman and managing director, Suzlon, will brainstorm on the challenges in globalising Indian business. Vivek Paul, managing partner, Texas Pacific Ventures, and S. Ramadorai, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, will mull over building on India’s IT edge.
Michael Eisner, the former head of Walt Disney, will be speaking on the creative economy. Sourav Ganguly, former Indian cricket captain, and film-maker Karan Johar will together talk about exploring new frontiers.
The Summit represents the Hindustan Times’ effort to contribute to the debate on important issues that affect India and the world.