It’s not often that you’ll have the likes of LN Mittal, Mukesh Ambani, Vijay Mallya, Arun Sarin, Naresh Goyal, SP Hinduja and Sunil Bharti Mittal at a book launch. The release of Commerce Minister Kamal Nath’s book India’s Century: The Age of Entrepreneurship in the World’s Largest Democracy was, clearly, special.
Speaking about the book’s central theme, Nath pointed to the current uncertainties in the global economy and urged the Indian entrepreneurs to stay globally competitive.
European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who flew in for the launch, described Nath as a “friend, co-negotiator and co-conspirator”, and called him an “articulate advocate” of India’s progress. “It is the greatest challenge to have a Chinese negotiator to start talking and an Indian negotiator to stop talking.”
Talking about India’s economic growth, Mandelson said, “India's renaissance is very important to India's position in the 21st century. India is not emerging, it is re-emerging. In 1830, it was the second biggest economy of the world, next to China.”
“India is getting there but not yet quite arrived. We believe India could actually travel a bit quicker, if it sometimes didn't driver its super-power Ferarri with hand-brakes on.”
The two then livened up the evening with some banter. After praising the book, Mandelson said, “I wondered how exactly you (Kamal Nath) had the time to write this book. I realised what is slowing us down in the Doha round of WTO talks. He is not looking for new ways of negotiation but writing the book.”
Nath responded, “The way the WTO talks are moving I will have time to write another book.” The Commerce Minister recalled that he had once travelled with Mandelson from Paris to Brussels to understand European agriculture. “I saw very fat cows fed on subsidised food and they can’t stand on their legs I told Mandelson that is my story. That is my story and that is my argument.”
Commenting on the book, Mukesh Ambani said Nath came across as an author with an incisive mind. He added that although Nath did not write on cricket, but “dealing with Kamal is always like being in a twenty-twenty”.
Steel tycoon, LN Mittal praised Nath for undertaking the book project despite his busy work schedule.