While delivering a keynote address at the Tenth Wharton India Economic Forum in Philadelphia, Charles (Chip) P Kaye, co-president of Warburg Pincus LLC, said that growing economic forces -- both India and China -- are in control of their own destiny - something that makes them different from many other emerging markets around the world.
"They are much more in control of their destiny and while they are affected by the winds of change that flow through the global economy they do not get swept off in the same degree as others," Kaye said.
"In my mind globalisation today is most fundamentally about Asia and specifically about the rise of countries like India and China which are clearly going to be one of the driving forces of the next 15 or 20 years," Kaye told 300-odd strong audience consisting mostly of students from Wharton as well as some from Harvard, Kellogg and Columbia business
schools who had come to attend the prestigious conference.
The one-day conference titled 'India's Mantra for Success' was addressed by a host of business leaders from India and US, including Ahmass L Fakahany, vice-chairman and CAO of Merrill Lynch; Deepak Parekh, chairman of Housing Development Finance Corporation; Rahul Bhasin, managing partner of Barings India Private Equity, as well as bureaucrats and academics like N K Singh, member of the Planning Commission of India, Sam Pitorda, chairman of National Knowledge Commission and Swaminathan Aiyer, consulting editor of the Economic Times and a consultant to the World Bank.
Kaye, who is the chairman of the US-India Business Council and whose company is the largest private equity investor in India, said that he is a fan of both countries and does not underestimate the challenges of either.
"The most peculiar thing that I find is that somehow part of being a fan of either India or China, particularly India, has with it the need to be negative about the other. And in many ways I would argue that each is most likely to be successful given the success of the other," Kaye said.
While praising India, particularly for its "managerial talent and quality of enterprises" he said that the country should not be too engrossed with its progress in the information technology sector.
"IT at best employs one million people (but) a lot of thinking should go into infrastructure, manufacturing and things that are significant absorbers of labour and can give them (people) a significant stake in the outcome," he said in response to a question.
"Do not forget the teeming masses that are looking for a job and that is (how) manufacturing, real estate, tourism and infrastructure all become important."
Kanush Chowdhury, one of the co-chairs of the conference, said that while business forums in the past have focused on tracing the India growth story, analysing the challenges faced by the economy and tracking the growth of buzz industries, the focus this year was to create a set of panel discussions that will focus on the ways in which individuals, corporations and policy makers can together frame India's future.
"We want to direct the discussion around how the Indian opportunity can be converted into a reality. In essence, we are attempting to put the Indian dream through a reality check in order to get insight into how exactly India can become an economic superpower," Chowdhury, an undergraduate student at Wharton, told India Abroad ahead of the conference.The conference had a number of panel discussions, including one on 'Shaping India's Grassroots' and whether 'Government Policy is a Catalyst or a Barrier,' addressed among others by Abraham George, founder of the George Foundation, Sonal Shah, founder of Indicorps and vice-president of Goldman Sachs and Co and Srivatsa Krishna, a Harvard MBA and Indian Administrative Service official who was named by the World Economic Forum as one its top 100 global leaders for tomorrow in 2003.