India makes huge impact in Switzerland!

As we predicted 7 years ago, India is blooming into one of the great world powers. We believe India and China will compete for the position of the world's most powerful nation. The first article gives some interesting insights. India is an economic powerhouse! Watch and see! Ben Boothe


DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 25 - Delhi swept into Davos on Wednesday, with an extravagant public relations campaign by India intended to promote the country as the world's next economic superstar, and as a democratic alternative to China for the affections of foreign investors."

There were few places one could go, on this first day of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting here, without seeing, hearing, drinking, or tasting something Indian. The organizers call the campaign "India Everywhere" and they appear to mean it literally.

"The last two years, we felt there was too much about China, and India wasn't being heard," said Ajay Khanna, the chief executive of the India Brand Equity Foundation, which is orchestrating the promotion. "This year, we decided to make a major effort to give India a voice."

There is little danger of India's being drowned out, with a 150-member delegation, including 3 cabinet ministers and 41 chief executives. Mr. Khanna estimated the total cost of the campaign and the travel expenses at $5 million. Never before, officials of the forum said, has a country mounted such an elaborate charm offensive at Davos.

"We're going to showcase the arrival of the global Indian entrepreneur," said Nandan M. Nilekani, the chief executive of Infosys Technologies, which grew into $2 billion in sales in 2005 from $120 million in 1999 and has come to symbolize India's vaulting ambitions. The question is whether India's unspoken message — that it is another China — is credible. After all, China still grows faster than India, has attracted 10 times the foreign direct investment and has built a gleaming network of airports and highways that make India look ramshackle.

"There are a number of areas where people gloss over India's challenges," said Jim O'Neill, the head of global economic research at Goldman Sachs, citing India's inadequate education system and barriers to foreign ownership of Indian assets as significant weaknesses.

"It's starting to be tricky to find skilled workers there," Mr. O'Neill said.

"India is also a very closed economy."

Goldman contributed to the euphoria about India, by projecting that its economy could be 50 times its current size by 2050, which would make it the world's third largest, after China and the United States. But Mr. O'Neill said that when he ranked countries by the potential risks to their growth — everything from inflation to corruption — India ranked 97th in the world, behind Brazil and the Philippines.

Indian entrepreneurs concede their country has problems. Social tensions from mass migration and the fragility of the current government could disrupt development. Roads and airports remain woeful, and construction projects are often snarled in bureaucracy.

"If you want to make Barbie dolls, don't come to India," said Anand G. Mahindra, the head of one of India's largest conglomerates. "Because if you order one million of them, they'll probably be held up in traffic from Mumbai to the port," he said, using the post-colonial name for Bombay."

Mr. Nilekani said he hoped the campaign would polish India's image and attract tourists, as well as some foreign investment. At a cost of $5 million, he noted, "we get a lot of bang for our buck."