India Abroad

What India Can Look Out For Post Davos

| January 31 , 2018 , 13:18 IST

There was plenty of India in Davos this year - a hundred member strong Indian corporate delegation, a prominent Ministerial team, two sprawling India lounges on the Promenade, a star-studded launch of a serious book on India, massive banners promoting Chandrababu Naidus Andhra and Devendra Fadnavis’s Maharashtra, besides TCS, Infosys and Wipro lounges and executives. The biggest news about India, however, was that this year not only did the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi come to Davos, but he also addressed the opening plenary.

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Indeed there have been earlier milestones for India at Davos - The last Indian Prime Minister before Modi to come to Davos was Deve Gowda in 1997. Then in 2006, the India Everywhere” campaign took off and plastered several major real estates in Davos with India banners.Five years later in Davos during the Incredible India” campaign in 2011, India was once again literally ‘everywhere’. Yet India took centre stage like never before in January 2018.

Overall the mood has been optimistic about global business this Davos. Global growth is stepping up at 3.9 percent and money is flowing across borders in trade deals. India’s growth rate of about 7 percent was therefore well placed and welcomed here. It is similar to India’s big splash in Davos in 2006 when growth was crossing 9 percent and tech companies were booming.

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However, Davos is not a place where deals are sealed. It is an elite ground for the first contact, building relationships, as well as friendships. One of the two India Lounges - the pop-up one at Cafe Schneider - was a choc-a-bloc with meetings between the Indian delegation and international parties. Ministers Piyush Goyal, Suresh Prabhu and the others were frequently seen striding across the Promenade for meetings too.

It is now in the weeks after the return of Prime Minister Modi and his delegation from Davos, that we will have to watch out for the consequences of India’s big week in Davos on trade. Will goodwill be converted into business?