International Experience - India (part 2)

March 12, 2011

Today ends the Delhi portion of our trip, and I must say it exceeded my expectations. While we could have been subjected to one-directional hand-waving and platitudes, we were instead engaged in several candid, fact-based conversations with top Indian leaders about the broad prospects and challenges of India’s growth and the complex dynamics of their specific spheres. The talks were also surprisingly personal, with leaders volunteering their failures along with their successes, their concerns along with their sources of inspiration.Some of my favorite episodes: - having dinner and tea in the backyard of Salman Kursheed (Minister of Water Resources, Minister of Minority Affairs, and grandson of the late Zakir Hussein, India’s 3rd President) - discussing the truly game-changing potential of India’s Universal ID initiative with Nandan Nilekani (former CEO of Infosys and current Chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India) - throwing an impromptu dance party under the stars atop the Habitat Centre - strolling towards the architectural emblem of India, the Taj Majal - exploring the streets of Mathura, the alleged birthplace of Krishna (avatar of Vishnu) Here is a partial list of other people we met with, in no particular order: - Kapil Sibal (Minister of Communications and IT and Minister of Human Resource Development) - Rakesh Bharti Mittal (Vice Chairman and MD of Bharti Enterprises) - John Flannery (president and CEO of GE India) - Anish Shah (president and CEO of GE Capital India) - Pramod Bhasin (president and CEO of Genpact) - E. Sreedharan (MD of Delhi Metro) - Patu Keswani (Chairman & MD of Lemon Tree Hotels, India’s fastest-growing hotel company) - Renu Karnad (MD – Delhi of HDFC, leader in housing finance in India) - TP Chopra (former president and CEO of GE India, and founder of BLP) - Daniel MacEachron (Country Head, India at Hines) Up next: Pune (1 day), then Mumbai!

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Eddie Thai