Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sade - for ever

Someone asked me, what happened to the floating weed since the last blog posting of 16 september. I responded, " the floating weed has stopped at the side of the Rio de la Plata ( Plata River in Buenos Aires). The city has captivated me completely and overwhelmingly since my arrival on 10 October. This meant a lot of postings in the latin american blogs.

Today, as I opened the videos of Sade in YouTube my non-latin american side of life came alive, refreshing memories. As i was trying the different songs, something struck me. I liked every one of the songs of Sade. I cannot say this of my other favourite singers. While Selena, Celine Dion, Luis Fonsi and Cristian Castro have taken me to the heights of ecstasy with their songs I found that I liked only a few of their songs. So when I bought their CDs I ended up with majority of songs I did not like.
But Sade is an exception. I enjoy every song of hers. Every song of hers stirs my soul and set me on romantic mood.
Sure I have some which I like more such as
- No ordinary love
- kiss of life
- I still really really love you

But I like every song of sade, in video and audio. Her soft and sweet voice touches the heart and strokes the soul. It is like a breeze entering through every cell of the body finding its way to the heart. Sade's songs are relaxing and refreshing, stirring and stimulating. I discovered her songs in 1998 and every time I listen to her, there is a new sensation and enjoyment.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Floating weed moves on...

yes .. it will leave delhi on 28 september and reach Buenos Aires on 10 october. Hmm..I have been posted as Ambassador to Argentina.

The last four years of my stay in India has been fascinating and exciting. I witnessed the dramatic transformation of India and the Indians. I had seen from the vantage point of South Block the unfolding of the policy of economic reforms. I had watched with admiration the unleashing of the enterprenurial energy of the Indian businessmen who are going global. I had listened to the " audacious vision" talk of the captains of Indian industry in the business conferences and seen it in action with Mittal taking over Arcelor and Tata buying Corus. I was thrilled to see the new confidence, ambition and optimism of the Indian youth with their "can do " attitude. I was fascinated by the consumer revolution caused by mobile phones. My own village has over sixty phones! Ten years back, I thought world- class highways, malls and buildings were just dreams. Now these have come true.

Now when I go out of India, I go as the representative of this New India, with a new sense of pride, confidence and optimism.

The relocation, packing, discarding, bye to friends... and ...unpacking, living off suit cases and starting a new life in a new place, making friends, playing in new golf courses, experiencing different things... is an opportunity I always look for reinvent myself.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mani Talk

"India of my dreams", was the theme of a talk by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar ( called as Mani by his friends) at the Foreign Service Institute yesterday. As I had anticipated, the talk was was exciting, stimulating, provocative and inspiring. Mr Aiyar is one of the greatest orators I have heard. As Mr Surendra Kumar, Dean of the Foreign Service Institute put it aptly " Mr Aiyar is inimitable, irrepressible and incorrigible". Mr Aiyar kept the audience spell bound for an hour with his profound analysis,incisive comments,satire and wit. He has a remarkable and accurate knowledge of history,economic data and any number of amusing anecdotes. He made the audience laugh, think and reflect.

Highlights of Mr Aiyar's talk
-his dream of India is not the dream being trumpeted as " India shining", "India poised" and " India Rising", the current slogans which is euphoric about the high growth, Indian companies going global and Indians spending the highest in Singapore. His dream is for the yesterday ( Nehru era) when the growth, even if slow, it was an inclusive growth. The focus of the government was the common man and the poor. Some of these were: the irrigation and multipurpose projects, the unprecedented affirmative action to empower scheduled castes and tribes, the building of the foundation of democracy and the engendering of the belief in one India despite separatist dreams by some Indians.
-the policies of today, according to Mr Aiyar, benefit the rich and the middle class disproportionately more than the poor, who constitute the bulk of the population.
-The middle class has hijacked the economic and public policy agenda, seeking benefits for itself, mindless of the poverty around.Their obsession with multiplexes, malls and green cards has overshadowed the crying needs of the poor.
-The huge foreign exchange reserves come from the sweat and suffering of the poor Indians working in middle east but the rich Indians spend them away in foreign holidays and shopping.
-Panchayat Raj is a way to empower the rural masses politically and enable them seek economic entitlement. There are 1.2 million elected women leaders at the grassroot level of panchayats ( this is more than the one third reserved for them in local bodies) who can deliver inclusive growth better than the colonial sytem of Collectors and the post-independent system of Block Development Officers. More resources need to be given to the panchayat leaders.
- Mr Aiyar disagrees with the Indian policy makers who believe that the tide of economic liberalisation and reforms will carry all the boats ( of the rich and poor). He says it is not a tide but a tsunami for the rich and a minor and gentle lap of the wave for the poor. What is his model? A train, which has upper and lower classes but everyone travels together and at the same pace.

The talk was meant essentially for the new officers who have just joined the foreign service. Mr Aiyar had managed to balance the perspectives of these young officers and make them level-headed and not be carried away by the hype about the high growth. He made the senior officers, including me, to feel guilty that we are part of the predatory middle class which seeks to enrich itself, mindless of the situation of the poor.

I was fortunate to have worked under Mr Aiyar in Karachi, when he was the Consul General there. I was dazzled and overwhelmed by his brilliance,energy and vision. I told him a few days after joining ,"sir, foreign service and bureaucracy are too small for your talents. you should join politics which will give a larger platform for your ideas. I was thrilled when he left the diplomatic service and joined politics and became a Minister.

Mani in Tamil means bell. Mr Aiyar has been ringing the alarm bells within his party and the cabinet cautioning about the euphoria and asking for more attention to Aam Aami ( common man ). Many disagree with him , when he downplays the economic growth, explosive indian enterprenurial spirit and the surging confidence and new mind-set of the middle class Indian. Mr Aiyar is also seen by some as excessively nostalgic about the glorious days of Nehru and the socialistic era.

But I enjoy the sound and music of Mani, with admiration.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I could fall in love with you... by Selena

Selena has reclaimed her top spot with this romantic song since yesterday

here is the Youtube link

And the lyrics here...

I could lose my heart tonight
If you don't turn and walk away
'Cause the way I feel I might Lose control
and let you stay

'Cause I could take in my arms
And never let go I could fall in love with you
I could fall in love with you
I can only wonder how Touching you would make me feel
But if I take that chance right now
Tomorrow will you want me still
So I should keep this to myself

And never let you know I could fall in love with you
I could fall in love with you
And I know it's not right
And I guess I should try to do what I should do
But I could fall in love, fall in love with you I could fall in love with you

Siempre estoy sonando en ti
Besando mis labios, acariciando mi piel
Abrazandome con ansias locas
Imaginando que me amas
Como yo podia amar a ti.

So I should keep this to myself
And never let you know I could fall in love with you
I could fall in love with you I could fall in love,
I could fall in loveWith you...

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Toyota Way

Here comes my second Japanese inspiration after i read the interview of Katsuaki Watanabe, President of Toyota in Harvard Business Review (HBR) July-August 2007 issue.
The first one was after seeing the Japanese movie Floating Weed, which gave birth to this blog.
While the first inspiration was romantic, people might think that Toyota inspiration cannot be so. That is what I also thought untill I finished reading the interview.

Before we go to the interview here is the success story of Toyota, which speaks for itself:
-It has overtaken GM as the largest automaker in the world. Sale expected to be 9.34 milion cars in 2007.
-Its market cap is one and half times more than that of the combined mkt cap of the Big Three of USA.
-It is the most profitable car maker. It made a profit of 13 billion$ in 2006-7, while GM and Ford made losses.
-Thomas Stewart the editor of HBR says " Toyota is the best car maker on the planet"

How did Toyota achieve this?
It is by the Toyota Way.
What is it? Watanabe has explained this in the interview.

It is " Continuous improvement( Kaizen) " and "respect for other people"
Kaizen is, of course, well known. The respect for other people comes out clearly in the interview. Watanabe has quoted his juniors in some parts of the interview " As our vice president said..".
Normally it is the juniors wo quote the boss. So it is not just preaching but practice. Watanabe says "there is no genius in our company". He means team work.

The root of the Toyota Way is to be dissatisfied with the status quo. If the rate of change by continuous improvement is slow, the Toyota people resort to revoltionary change or radical innovation called as Kakushin. While there is continuity in Kaizen, there is discontinuity in Kakushin.

Toyota employees are "T" type people. The vertical stroke is for deepening and intensity, while the horizontal top is to widen horizons. So they employment is for long term to deepen ( It takes 20 years to produce a T type manager) and the managers are allowed to switch jobs to learn other things. There are 2000 coordinators to train the employees around the world in the Totota Way.

Watanabe's approach to BRIC countries is a sample of the Toyota Way of thinking.
He has no plans to compete with the herd in the fast growing markets of China and India for low-cost vehicles. He says " As people in BRICs look for better cars, as roads are built and as energy efficiency becomes more important... we should let the market come to us ".

What is the vision of Watanabe for a dream car?
To produce cars that can excite,entertain and evoke emotions...
oops... this is romance... passion...

My admiration for Toyota and the Japanese have gone up. But of course it does not diminish my passion for Latin America. This reminds me of the Brazilian Japanese ( about a million in Brazil) who have been assimilated in Brazil in the last about a hundred years. How does the japanese police detect illegal Brazilian japanese in japan. During midnight patrolling of streets if they come across a house with loud music and partying noise.. Caramba.. here they are !

Friday, June 29, 2007

kiss of death ...kiss of life

In my youth I was inspired by the story of Laura ( forgot the hero's name). The hero is a poet, who is in love with Laura. But he dares not face her or try to meet her. He is so shy and timid and his is a silent love..unexpressed..umrequited.. But he follows her discreetly at a distance every day without her knowledge. Hmmm..That is what every hero thinks. One day she surpises him. She stops at the corner and meets him face to face. She gives him a kiss...a long intense and passionate kiss. No other nothing. Just a kiss. Off she disappears. The hero does not what hit him. His face is white and his eys dazed. He goes home in shock and euphoria. He starts writing furiously non-stop for days together. One day ants run allover his ears, nose and eyes.
kiss of death.

I was reminded of this when I heard the song "kiss of life" by my favourite Sade the other day. I had heard the song many times but had fallen in love with her other songs " no ordinary love" and " love is stronger than pride". But this time the kiss of life struck me like a lightning. And I have not stopped listening since then. It has become the number one in my chart, overtaking Selena's magic song" dreaming with you" and the earlier " I hope you dance" by Lee Ann Womack.

Here is the link to the music video of the song in you tube

the lyrics...

There must have been an angel by my side
Something heavenly led me to you
Look at the sky It's the color of love
There must have been an angel by my side
Something heavenly came down from above He led me to you He led me to you
He built a bridge to your heart All the way How many tons of love inside I can't say
When I was led to you I knew you were the one for me
I swear the whole world could feel my heartbeat When I lay eyes on you Ay ay ay
You wrapped me up in The color of love
You gave me the kiss of life Kiss of Life You gave me the kiss that's like The kiss of life
Wasn't it clear from the start Look the sky is full of love Yeah the sky is full of love
He built a bridge to your heart All the way How many tons of love inside I can't say
You gave me the kiss of life Kiss of Life You gave me the kiss that's like The kiss of life
You gave me the kiss of life Kiss of Life You gave me the kiss that's like The kiss of life
You gave me the kiss of life Kiss of Life You gave me the kiss that's like The kiss of life
You wrapped me up in the color of love
Must have been an angel come down from above
Giving me love yeah Giving me love yeah You gave me the kiss of life Kiss of Life
You gave me the kiss of life
The kiss of life

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Rural Revolution

daily labourers- the few old ones still available

Evening swim at Kollidam river near my village

I had been observing the changes during my pilgrimages to my village. But the transformation I saw this time was breath- taking and dramatic. It is nothing less than a Revolution; both physical and in the mind-set. Mobile fones, transporation and TV have changed the landscape and mindscap.
I saw this in my own village last week.
There are 100 mobile fones in my village of 160 households. The sheperd, casual labourer,the milkman, school students and the guy on the bullock cart carry them. Some of the fones are the latest versions with camera, music, video and can be used as torchlightalso. With my three-year old fone, I had to hide my backwardness, while the village kids impressed my with their versatility in use of multimedia facilities of their fones. When I was talking about my son in USA, my neighbour said let us talk to him. I was hesitant saying it would be expensive. But he did not care. He took the number from me and called my son in his fone and the whole gang around me spoke to him. The cost of the call to USA, he explained to me, was just three and half rupees ( 8 cents ) per minute. One of the lowest in the world !
I tried to show off my nano iPod. But there were no takers. The boy next door showed me his collection of 35 songs in his cellfone and showed me how he makes recording from the FM music channel of the TV.

Transportation has made people moving. During my time I had to walk 3 kms to school and a similiar distance to college. Now they go in buses, cycles, mopeds and motorcycles.

The TV has opened their eyes. I was taken by surprise when the boy from the the neighbourhood started discussing an NBA game. The TV ads have exposed the villagers to the whole world and to the latest fashions. No one was willing to hear my stories about America or Delhi !

My village as well as the others in the area have a problem now. There is a shortage of labour since many boys and girls from the traditional labour class are getting urban jobs. It is very difficult to get labour during peak seasons. The solution has started arriving with mechanisation. I used to do ploughing with bullock-drawn ploughs. Now most of the ploughing is with tractors. Machines are used for harvesting and are being introduced for transplantation.

In my trips in the past I used to impress my village folk about the world beyond them. This time I was the one who looked like a country bum among the villagers who knew more than me. I have come back impressed, educated and enlightened. I am now as optimistic about my village as I am about the urban youth who are becoming global players riding on the IT revolution.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lonely Hearts - movie

I grabbed this DVD the moment I saw the name of John Travolta and Salma Hayek, both my favourite actors. Salma has, of course, acted as an evil femme fatale in this film. Both Salma and Travolta have become matching with the weight both have put on.

The story is about a conman Raymond Fernandez who responds to personal ads and cheats the lonely ladies and war widows, pretending to be a " Latin Lover". One of his victims, Martha Beck is smarter than him and they become partners in future crimes, she pretending to be his sister. She makes Raymond kill the victims, unable to tolerate relationship between her lover and the victims. Travolta as the detective Elmer goes after them successfully and get them convicted to electric chair.

This is based on a true story of the forties when over a dozen women were cheated and killed by the criminal duo.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dreaming with ....Selena

I have been listening over and over to this song " Dreaming of you" by Selena, for the last one week. It has taken over my heart and soul. It is pure magic. The soft and sweet romantic voice of Selena mesmerises me. It puts a spell on me every time.

I start closing my eyes in the very opening of the song....

Late at night when all the world is sleeping
I'd stay up and think of you
And I'd wish on a star
That somewhere you are thinking of me too

I become ecstatic when she goes on to...

Ahhh...I can't stop dreaming of you
Ahhh...I can't stop dreamin

I am breathless when she lilts...
"I love you"... and goes for the kill with.. " How much i love you"

the friend whom i made listen said" velvet voice "- gracias

I have listened to her other songs. some interesting..others not so.
But this particular song is the most powerful one which lifts me up in the sky and let me fly to know where..

And nostalgia or what the Brazilians call as " saudade" flares up when the mexican-american Selena murmurs in Spanish

no puedo dejar de pensar en ti
como te necesito
amor como te estranho

There are also two other songs in my nano iPod on Dreaming; one by Vanessa Williams and another by Sade.. both my favourites. But to make me dream.. they are no match for Selena with this particular magical song.

The song carried me to heights of passionate eloquence today morning when I gave a talk on the subject of "Dreaming with BRICs" by Goldman Sachs in the event organised by Assocham. Of course, skeptics say that Goldman Sachs has made Indians and Brazilians " daydream" with their report.

hmmm.... It is all dreaming for the night .. and in the day too...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

"The Hive" - novel of Camilo Jose Cela

I have just finished reading this english translation of the novel La Colmena by Camilo Jose Cela.
This is the first time I have read the book of Cela, the Spanish writer who got Nobel prize.

I started it about six months back and completed only now, although it is only about 250 pages.
The author took about five years to write it ! The story lends itself to leisurely reading. It centres around a cafe, where the characters come in midafternoon or early evening,sit around, meet others and reflect on their lives over cafe at Dona Rosa's Cafe Delicia.

The story has no big drama, suspence or memorable characters. It is like documentation of every day life of 160 ordinary characters such as an unemplyed youth, policeman, security guard, old men with young tastes and old ladies with older attitude in the city of Madrid. Cela himslef had written in his preface to the first edition "it is nothing other than a pale reflection, a humble shadow of everyday, harsh, profund and painful reality". In the aftermath of the second world war and in the middle of Franco's dictatorship, the Spaniards seem to have simply drifted along, without serious aspirations or motivations.

It is about lower middle class people and their struggle to survive. While the boys and men invent ways and means to acquire and keep up with lovers, the girls who are not luckey enough, take to the streets. The casual and easy approach of these characters to sex, partnership and fun reminded me of similiarities in Latin America.

The books of Cela were banned during Franco's dictatorship and this book was first published in Buenos Aires in 1951. Even there it had to go thorugh the censorship of Peronist dictatorship.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Volver - spanish film

This is the first ever film of the Spanish film maker and director Pedro Almodovar, I have seen.Volver in spanish means return. I expected it to be unconventional and art film type. But it was a pleasant surprise.The story flows smoothly without surrealism and or incomprehensible modernism. It is a normal film with a good storyline. The mother of Raimunda, who was believed to have died in a fire accident comes back ( volver) to attend to unfinished work including rapproachment with her daughter. The story brings out the conditions of women unlucky in marriage, daughter raped by father, aunts taking care of families, hardworking single mother and rural life in Spain. It is the women who dominate the film.There is humour, pathos and passion.

There is the old traditional Spain of superstitions and the new country with modern windmills. The windmills remind me of the story of Don Quixote, who is from La Mancha. Director Almodovar is also from the same place and this is where the story starts in the film.

Penelope Cruz, who has acted as Raimunda is brilliant. She exudes the charm and smile of the warm spanish culture. I also liked her acting as a Brazilian in the hollywood film " woman on top".

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ambassador's Cup Golf Tournament 31 March

Harinder Sikka of Nicholas Piramal Group organised this 2007 edition with great style. The tournament was given live coverage by Zee Business TV network. There were lots of goodies, plane tickets and prizes.
Although I did not win any trophy this year, I won two skins which got me a pair of footjoy golf shoes and a custom-fit Saville Row suit.... My score was 47 in the first nine and 38 in the second nine. Last year I played 82.

The tournament was held in JP Green in Greater Noida. The picture above is the par-3 fourth hole.
The prize distribution and dinner was held at the residence of Spanish ambassador Don Rafael Conde. Sikka had brought in a music and dance group from Srilanka, which gave a scintillating performance. The event was compered by Shivani who did a professional job with a sense of humour. The event was put together by Digraj Singh of Tiger sports marketing.
Besides Ambassadors, there were civil servants, businessmen and judges. Mr Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for defence was the chief guest.
In my group there was the Army chief Gen JJ Singh, the Chinese and Japanese Ambassadors. The Chinese Ambassador told me that 30 out of 58 diplomats in his embassy play golf. And they practice in the embassy compound, where they can hit upto 200 yards !. There are already 3000 golf courses in China. It is amazing the way the Chinese have caught up. Another few years.. and one should not be surpised to see Chinese world champions in golf !

I was asked to give a humorous speech to entertain the audience, which I did. I joked about diplomatic way of speaking and handling issues... I talked about Indian ambassadors and brought in Latin America in the jokes. I thought i would get away with my usual cultural shock to the audience with sexy jokes. Hmmm.. this time i got a cultural shock from some of the older members of the audience who found some of my humorous anecdotes too spicy.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Blood Diamond - movie

I saw this film yesterday, on the recommendation of a soul mate. The movie stirs the soul and touches the heart. It is difficult to get over the tragedy of brutalisation and traumatisation of some of the African societies, portrayed in the film. Diamonds which adorn the wedding rings symbolising union of people have been a curse of death and destruction in some African countries. Instead of adding wealth, diamond resources have made countries poor and miserable. Sierra Leone, Angola and some other African countries have paid a heavy price in lives for possession of diamonds.It is heartening to know that the world has taken a stand against blood diamonds.

Leonardo Di Caprio has acted as Danny Archer, the Rhodesian mercenary who is a diamond smuggler. Djimon Hounsou (he is from Benin) has acted superbly as Solomon Vandy whose dream to educate his son to become a doctor is shattered by the outbreak of civil war. His family is separated and his son is taken away by the rebels who train him to become a killer soldier. Solomon is forced to work in a diamond mine by the rebels. He finds a large pink diamond and manages to hide it by burying it in the bush. Archer comes to know about it and persuades him to take him to the diamond, promising him to reunite him with his family. The duo is given some help by an American journalist who is trying to uncover the story of diamond smuggling.

The movie is a wake up call for Africa, some parts of which are still mired in civil war. Even the mercenary Archer says at one point " God has left Africa long back". His cynical remark TIA... This Is Africa perhaps sum up the tragic situation.

Monday, February 26, 2007

skiing in New York

I made use of my transit halt in Newyork on 20 February and the unusually cold weather and excessive snowing to indulge in my most favourite passion...skiing. This was in the Camelback ski resort in Poconos area in Pennsylvania, fifty miles from NewYork city, where I used to go when I was posted there.

It was a thrilling experience. Although my last skiing was six years back in 2000 in valle nevado, Chile, i still retained the skill and was able to move confidently. I did even the half- pipe slope.

The day was perfect. After the heavy snowfall in the days before my arrival, there was plenty of powder. I loved every moment on the skis.

Breathing the pure air of the white snow ..
Drinking Hot chocolate in the cold weather ..

Following the laughter and scream of the little kids who know no fear..

Going up the lift and coming down on the slopes like kids..
the thrill of moving fast..
the fear of falling down..

hmm... It was one of the best days of my life.

Blue Butterfly - Canadian movie

I chose to see the movie "Blue Butterfly" , from the Air India collection, simply because of its name. Blue is my favourite colour and butterfly is a fascinating and colurful creature appealing to my imagination. But the movie turned out to be more than these. It was inspiring and moving.

The story is about a ten year old boy Pete, who is given just a few months more to live by the doctors after diagnosing brain tumour. He is confined to the wheel chair.Pete is an amateur insect collector and admirer of Alan Osborne, a famous entomologist. Pete is taken up by Osborne's description of Blue Butterfly- mariposa azul-from Central and south america, as having magical powers. Pete wants to catch one before his death. He and his single mother approach Osborne , who says that the season is over and he has no time to take the boy to the jungle. But he relents after hearing about the terminal illness. Osborne takes Pete on his shoulders through the tropical rain forests of Costa Rica. The journey of adventure and fulfillment makes the boy recover miraculously and he starts walking.

Osborne is commited to the world of insects and is uncomfortable with the humans. He cannot handle kids and is rude and blunt in his interactions. But his space is entered by the young boy who reconnects Osborne to the human world of emotions and feelings.

The movie is touching. It is about hope and dreams. Catching the blue butterfly is a metaphor for pursuit of life, ....passionate pursuit of dreams. The dream and belief gives magical powers to oneself to achieve the impossible and overcome challenges. I was specially touched by the little costa rican indigenous girl ( Marianella) who tells Pete " you are a blue butterfly.. I am also.. everything and everyone is a blue butterfly".

I liked the smooth and pleasant flow of the film. No big drama or make-believe. It goes like a children's story but with a strong message.

This is based on a true story.

This is a canadian film released in 2004 and directed by Lea Pool. William Hurt has acted as Osborne, Pascal Bussiers as Teresa and Marc Donato as Pete.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Speech to MBA graduate students at FMS Delhi 25 january 2007

The topic of the talk was " India Inc going global". Audience- MBA graduate students of the Faculty of Management Studies of Delhi University. The substance of the talk was by and large same as that of the talk I gave to the MBA students of Bharatidasan University on 22 November. But this time I highlighted the young human resource asset of India in the new emerging Knowledge based economy, which gives a competitive edge to Indian business going global. The other two competitive edges are: first-walmart effect- Indian companies get a solid foundation of competence in the large volume market of India in which they are under pressure to deliver products and services at the lowest cost and second- globalisation which gives opportunities to those who are faster and smarter,while it becomes a challenge to the slower and less smart. The new mindset of the young Indians who have a hunger for success and achievement with a new confidence and optimism make India a winner in globalisation.

I talked about the new corporate culture and ethics being imbibed by the young and impressionable professionals in the Indian IT companies who play straight and do things correctly and properly. In the process of servicing and adding value to the best global companies in the world, the Indian IT companies are adopting the best practices of the best corporates and are establishing a reputation globally.

I also spoke of Economic diplomacy through which diplomats facilitate and promote India's enegagement with the global business.

Prof Singla, who has a formidable combination of BE, MBA and PhD and had at one time worked with TCS introduced me to the audience. According to him FMS is among the best management Instituitions of India. fifty percent of the students have work experience while over 80 percent are engineers. Mr Jagtar Singh of TCS, who took the initiative in arranging the lecture, is an alumnus of FMS.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Speech on South- South Cooperation 15 January 2007

The Consultancy Development Centre of India had organised a two day congress on "Consultancy and services- global market" at India habitat centre on 15-16 Jnauary 2007. I was invited to speak at the session on South-south cooperation on 15th.

I modified the subject to south-south partnership for 2 reasons. first, cooperation sounds idealistic, moralistic and one risks being labelled as an idealist or hypocrite. Secondly, cooperation has governmental altruistic connotation. In my view, government is only one of the players in the south-south interaction. The others are business and civil society. When all these three become stake holders, the south-south partnership becomes sustainable and win-win for all involved.

South-south partnership is no longer a rhetoric or slogan. It has become a quiet reality with another name ie regional integration. I gave the example of how Brazil and Argentina who were rivals like India and pakistan have now become partners in the framework of Mercosur. Today Argentina does more trade with saopaulo state than with USA. They have free movement of goods, services, capital and people. The Argentinian and brazilian people, business and governments have mutual stake in the prosperity of each other and they have a durable partnership. Same is the case in Andean group, central american group and caricom. The west Indies cricket team and the university of west indies are shining examples of south -south partnership.

The s-s partnership has helped the latin americans get over past conflicts and has reinforced the stability and growth of each other and given collective strength.

Then I spoke about the development partnership programme of Government of India which gives ITEC scholarships, aid projects, lines of credit and promote trade with other south countries through FTA and PTA.

Indian cos have been adding value to other countries. eg Kirloskar has contributed to agricultural production of Laos, TCS - to human resource development of uruguay, chile and brasil, Ranbaxy - to reduction of cost of health care in Brazil and Mittal, Jindal and Essar- to manufacturing in Trinidad and Bolivia.

India- Brazil- South Africa ( IBSA), the new cafe con leche ( coffee with milk ) alliance is a promising south-south partnership.

The session was cochaired by the ambassador of dominican republic and Mr Ghosh CMD of Consulting Engineers ltd. There was a speaker form pakistan and another from malaysia.