India Everywhere as Davos meet kicks off

Since the emergence of India and China forms one of the six sub-themes for the WEF, reports Prerna K Mishra.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2006 11:45 IST

The snow-clad sleepy hamlet of Davos may be a small spec on the global map but between January 25 and 29, it will host the most formidable conglomeration of people from politics, business, media and art.

Given that this year the emergence of India and China forms one of the six sub-themes for the World Economic Forum, the India flavour is quiet in the air.

With Indian cuisine and wines teasing the foreign palates courtesy the India Everywhere Project under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the umpteen billboards announcing the Indian success story dotting the venue, the message from the world's largest free market economy is emerging loud and clear.

The event is being attended by 115 odd Indian delegates which is double the number of delegates who attended it last year.

Nearly 57 out of the 210-odd ses sions have either India as the theme or have speak ers from India.

Says Infosys chief and India Every where Project chairman Nandan Nilekani, "Our objective here is not just to raise expec tations about India as a business and tourism destination but we are simply trying to highlight what already ex ists in our country. It is our intent to invite the global business community to partner and benefit from India's development."

However, Bajaj Auto Ltd Chairman Rahul Bajaj, who has been attending the event every year since 1979, has a word of caution.

"Everything that we are saying about India is all too fine, but we have to remember that if we are making promises about the free market economy called India, we will be judged on the basis of the progress made in Indian reforms the next time we meet at this forum. If this year we paint aspirations, next year we will have to show the deliverables," says Bajaj.

But the spirit of Indian glory, driven by Indian dream team including Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, chief ministers of four states and corporate honchos, has not deterred delegates from evaluating the challenges facing the country.

Says ITC Chairman and Confederation of Indian Industry President YC Deveshwar, "Our demographic dividend may become a demographic disaster if millions of people joining the job market are bereft of special skill sets. The focus will have to be not just on growth and reforms but also the sustainability of the growth."

The Annual Meeting 2006 is being co-chaired by Reliance Industries Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani.

This is only the third time in the history of the World Economic Forum that an Indian is the co-chair.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 00:00 IST