'Realising the Indian Dream'

An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 08 October 2006  

A trip to Cape Town in S Africa and back, to attend a path breaking conference on Joint Operations on 18 and 19 September was an eye opener. The speakers discussed UN Operations in Sudan, Darfur, Congo and Rwanda in great detail. Mrs Whelam, US under secretary for Africa, spoke about the operations in Liberia and all the difficulties faced. The subject of sea basing and navies in the Indian Ocean, especially the rise of the Indian Navy, came in for spot light discussions. Coincidentally Indian Navy's guided missile destroyer INS Mumbai was in port on a goodwill mission, for the Africa Aerospace and Defence show and she was berthed right alongside S Africa's new Meko 2000.

Seven Indian companies including BrahMos team led by CEO Dr Sivathanu Pillai, BEL, DRDO, all defence shipyards and ordnance factories displayed their wares at the excellently laid out India pavillion. Surprisingly HAL was absent but India made a mark and some 50 Indian reps from the PSUs, IAF, Navy and Army led by Mrs Dr Chaddha JS( Exports) made an impression. FOC-in-C West Vice Admiral SS Byce also arrived for few days and S Afrcia got a very good taste of India's capabilities.

INS Mumbai also went to Durban for PM Dr Manmohan Singh's visit which was a resounding success. Indian Navy's flag showing exercise paid rich dividends and many could not believe that the powerful INS Mumbai with 16 Uran missiles, 3D Fregat radar, Kashmir SAM and Indian sonars, was India built and so powerfully armed. The Indian sailors also made an impression. The days of $500 and P forms when the Navy paid almost no foreign allowances to its officers and sailors is history. S Africa which made the atom bomb in the 70s and then shut all facilities has changed its policy and now will support India in the NSG. It may export uranium too to India and President Mbeiki and Dr Manmohan Singh hit it off as they had met in Brasilia for the IBSA meet and in Havana. MEA too now realises what good the Navy can do for Indian diplomacy.

Two years ago we had posted a piece on ‘Realising the Indian Dream’. Now we learn that Wharton India Economic Forum 2006 (WIEF), the premier student-run business forum focusing on India, will take place on November 11th, 2006 at the Doubletree Hotel in Philadelphia. Established in 1996, this year marks the eleventh year of the conference and also coincides with the 125th anniversary of The Wharton School. The theme of this year's conference is 'Realizing the Indian Dream.' This year's conference at Wharton will host important business leaders such as Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto Ltd.; Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group; Captain G R Gopinath, Founder and MD, Air Deccan; Rajat Kumar Gupta, previous Worldwide Chairman, McKinsey; Sunil Kant Munjal, CEO and MD, Hero Cycles Ltd.; Rajendra Pawar, Chairman, NIIT; Gunit Chadha, CEO and MD, Deutsche Bank AG, India; Dr. Anil Khandelwal, Chairman and MD, Bank of Baroda; Adarsh Kishore, Secretary, Ministry of Finance; Dr. Ashok Lahiri, Chief Economic Advisor, Department of Economic Affairs; Ambassador Raminder Singh Jassal, Deputy Chief of Mission Embassy of India; Rajeev Ratan Shah, Member-Secretary, Planning Commission; and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman and MD, Biocon Ltd.

The past decade saw India at the forefront of the global business, diplomacy, defence cooperation and political landscape. Though the success was attributed to a myriad of factors such as the country's focus on information technology, favourable economic policies, and a growing number of ambitious entrepreneurs, the common thread underlying all of these initiatives is the Indian Dream. Although the Indian Dream parallels the idea of the American Dream, it is necessary to delve into what exactly constitutes India's ideal for success.

The nation must be made to imbibe a Maritime Consciousness as CNS Admiral Arun Prakash put it, at Mumbai on 4th October during his visit to Training Ship Jawahar. He presented the SEa Cadet corps with the CNS Standard. The parade, a show of naval semaphore and naval customs was put on by the few hundred young Sea Cadets aged between 7 to 18 years, who don naval uniform to visit Jawahar or naval establishments every Sunday to learn about the Navy and the Seas. It was a moving show of India's youth and the Mumbai media gave due publicity –– Mumbaikars have some sea consciousness –– but north India was content to report headlines on how India's civil companies were rated most corrupt by Transparency International.

India must learn to concentrate on the need for discipline, patriotism and integrity. Hony Commodore Rabi Ahuja, following in the foot steps of his illustrious father as head of the Sea Cadet Corps, showed how it can be done for hundreds of children –– Phiroze Godrej whose husband is a sailor needs to be congratulated too for gathering funds for the Corps.

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