Embassies of India across the world have been trying to see how they can hold annual seminars to pitch for greater interest in India’s business story. As part of this program CII has been partnering with Indian embassies to have business leaders present the India story to distinguished government and industry leaders in other countries.
Oman and India have had excellent relations for three decades. The King of Oman Qaboos bin Said Al Said was a student of Shankar Dayal Sharma, the former President of India. The King, and therefore, Oman has had a soft heart for India, thanks to the excellent diplomatic relations the two countries have enjoyed. There are many Indians who have lived for 15 to 40 years in Oman. No one who goes in there usually comes out, is something that most Indians who know of that region, say.
It was a tough task to actually talk of the India story since a lot of it has gone sour in the last 7 to 8 years. Investments people have made in India have turned bad either because of lack of ethic and the failure to keep business promises, or of the Indian economy’s weakening to a point where investments made 4 to 5 years ago at Rs 38 to a dollar have soured as investments at the current level of over Rs. 62 a dollar.
To present the India story is tough, said Hariharan to the august gathering that was attended by the Indian Ambassador and a very senior emissary of the Omani Finance Ministry.
“It is true that we have a fantastic potential ahead of us, but we can’t get our act together, thanks to inability of corporate managements to deliver on promises and of the completely uncertain climate of policy and governance that Indian regimes have offered in the last 15 years,” he said in candid admission that had the audience pleasantly surprised.
The India growth story has remained more on paper than in actual content, he continued. Hariharan went on to unfold the potential that lay in India despite the challenges.
The feedback at the end of the keynote address and through the pre-lunch session with the distinguished Omanis and Indians was electrifying. They came in with very low expectations to the conference. Two hours later there were many who came up and spoke to the BCIL team. Said one participant, “There was no one who had actually successfully presented the India Story with as much frankness.”
The ambassador Mukul said, “It is not that Dr Hariharan’s keynote address is going to make a dramatic change and influence our leaders to change their mind, but it’s a step in the right direction.”