Thursday, December 15, 2011

The New Latin America and The New India - seminar

¨Palabras de Pasion¨ ( words of passion) was the title of my opening speech in Spanish.
I said,
-The New India is the one in which a TCS nerd has the nerve to tell God ¨Why dont you outsource your mandate? TCS will do it at half the cost and twice the efficiency
- The New Latin America is the one which does not tremble when IMF officials visit. Now it is the IMF which trembles while requesting Brasil for funds to rescue Europe.
- The New Latin America sings
Dejanos imaginar
que no existe el pasado
que nacimos el mismo instante en que nos conocimos
Let us imagine
that there was no past
that we were born at the moment in which we met each other..
-India is more than a commerical partner for Latin America. It is a democratic partner with spiritual synergy ( Bikini- Bindi ) and cultural complementarity ( Soya and Yoga)
- Latin Americans come back from visit to india with their spirit and soul enriched. Indians return from Latin America...happier and younger. Some do not return...stay on ..fall in love .. and marry Latin Americans..
Full speech of 18 minutes in Spanish in Youtube

This seminar is the first of its kind. It is the first one which has covered commercial, economic, political and cultural aspects of the relations between India and Latin America comprehensively. We had put together economists, policy makers, businessmen, academics, diplomats and a journalist on the dais. The focus was on the future...promise and potential. Not wasting time on the forgettable past.
Osvado Rosales of ECLAC ( Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean based in Santiago - our partner in organising the seminar) released a new publication ¨India and Latin America and Caribbean- Opportunities and Challenges in trade and economic relations¨ This is the first- ever ECLAC publication on India. Here is their Press Release.
Their Press Release got wide coverage in Latin American media as well outside. The full report in their website.

Marisol Argueta, Head of Latin America and Senior Director of World Economic Forum ( former foreign minister of El Salvador) talked about ¨Latin America- the decade ahead¨ and recalled the conclusions of the last WEF Latin America Summit held in Rio in April 2011 which were optimistic about the prospects in this decade. She exhorted the Latin American policy makers to make use of this historic opportunity by focussing on education, innovation, poverty alleviation, infrastructure and policy reforms.

Mr Samuel Guimaraes, the High Representative of Mercosur and ex-vice foreign minister of Brasil spoke ( humour and irony about IMF and some hard truth about China too) on India- Mercosur partnership.
Horacio Salvador from the Argentine foreign ministry highlighted the common approaches of Argentina and India in multilateral economic issues.
Jai Shroff, CEO of UPL, is planning to increase his agrochemicals and seed business in Latin America from the current turnover of 350 million dollars to a billion in the next 4 years. He is a prime example of the new mindset of Indian entrepreneurs who are going global with confidence, vision and optimism.

In the business session, the five Indian speakers
-were upbeat about the opportunities in Latin America
-outlined their plans for more investment and expansion of business
-expressed happiness with the Latin American human resources
-highlighted the cultural aspects of interaction between Indian and Latin American staff.
Arvind Sharma from Punjab who is settled down in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for the last 20 years, talked about the 2 billion dollar Jindal iron ore mining project.
Satya Muley who has built up from scratch a 50 million dollars business of adhesives and chemicals for Pidilite exuded confidence about his Brasil-expertise. He is a Guru for those who want to know the ropes of doing business in this large but complicated market. Brasil, they say, is not for beginners...
GV Mani was happy with the quality of Argentine human resources for the high-end financial research business of Crisil which wants to recruit more people.
Kapil Gulati wants to increase his business of lighting equipments to 600 million dollars from the current 200 million in the region.
Ram Karuturi has no business in the region..yet. He seeks South American expertise, technology, equipments and partnership for farming of his 300,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia.
Gabriel Rozman, the uruguayan wizard behind the success of TCS in Latin America ( employing 7000 Latin Americans in 8 countries ) inspired the audience with his humorous anecdotes and was proud of his association with Tata the legendary group of India.
Gustavo Grobocopatel's eyes were shining while he talked about the huge potential for South America ( lot of fertile land, abundant water, best practices, professional, scientific and large scale commercial farming) to supply protein and food requirements of India ( growing population and food consumption but losing agricultural land, water table going down, constraints of small scale farming) in the long term. Gustavo is called as the King of Soya and pioneer of APO- Agri Process Outsourcing. Playing on his name, he claims(jokingly) to be a relative of Sardar Vallabhai Patel !! For sure, he is Gujrati in his enterprising spirit.
Left to right- Arvind Sharma ( Jindal Steel Bolivia), Ram Karuturi ( Karuturi Global- largest cut rose producer in the world), Satya Muley ( Pidilite Brasil), Sergio Suarez ( Ayurvedic specialist and more Indian than me), Gabriel Rozman (TCS), GV Mani ( Crisil), Kapil Gulati ( Havells Sylvania) and Gustavo Grobocopatel ( Los Grobo Group).

Jorge Heine, who is writing a book on India ( to be released in the first half of 2012) and who was the Chilean Ambassador to India, talked about the unique aspects and advantages of India over China.
Oliver Stuenkel, the professor from Getulio Vargas Foundation, Sao Paulo
- One cannot understand India using the western norms and theories. India's democracy, growth and promise defy conventional wisdom.
Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor The Hindu
- India's rise as a power is peaceful unlike the old powers which wanted to dominate and caused wars. India and Latin America should work together in setting global agenda ( to the extent possible) rather than reacting to the agenda of the fading old powers who try to manipulate.
Raul Rivera, author of the new book ¨Nuestra Hora ¨ ( our time ), who was the last speaker mesmerised the audience with his unconventional and humorous comparison of Latin America with the rest of the world. He entertained the audience with his wit, satire and colourful language.
Left to right: Raul Rivera ( Chile), Oliver Stuenkel ( Brasil), Jorge Heine ( Chile) and Siddharth Varadarajan ( India)

We raffled 4 Qatar Airways tickets to India among the participants in the seminar and the guests at the Gala evening. The seminar has stimulated new enthusiasm, energy and vision among Indians and Latin Americans about the growing win-win long time partnership based on cultural and spiritual bonds.
The seminar was followed by a cutural programme with Rabindra Sangeet and Manipuri groups which came from India. While the Argentine artistes danced Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Bollywood dances, an Indian Sharukh Merchant danced Tango. Cultural complementarity...
The India- Latin America spiritual synergy flourished in the cocktail with the wine made by a Vietnamese- speaking, French passport-holding Pondicherry Tamil Aziz Abdul in his winery in Mendoza, Argentina.

1 comment:

Hari, Gateway House said...

Ambassador Viswanathan,

Great initiative. All the Latin aficionados in India are delighted with your work.

Thank you.