Read My Lips

India and Globalization

How is India dealing with the dichotomy of high-tech industry and abject poverty?

Merging cultures?

Takeaways


India's relations with the West date back to the earliest days of colonization in the 16th century. And they have never been entirely free of tension, even as the dynamics have changed over the past decades. Indians once felt exploited by colonial powers. But now, the sentiment is reversing itself in the wake of the global outsourcing debate. Our Read My Lips explores India as a global force.

In what regard is India truly remarkable?

“Few countries in the developing world have been able to implement such far-reaching reforms within the framework of a parliamentary democracy.”
(India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, November 2004)

And what may be the main benefit of India’s integration into the global eonomy?

“It is increasingly possible to believe that India will finally be able to conquer its age-old worry over want and hunger.”
(Gurcharan Das, former CEO of Procter and Gamble India, May 2004)

What factors have made India one of the drivers of globalization?

“The convergence of PCs, telecom and work-flow software allowed India to become part of the global supply chain for services the way China had become for manufacturing.”
(Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist, March 2004)

What is India’s most valuable export to the United States?

“The United States imports oil from Saudi Arabia, cars from Japan, TVs from Korea and whiskey from Scotland. So, what do we import from India? We import people — really smart people.”
(Leslie Stahl, CBS’s “60 Minutes” co-host, January 2003)

How many of these "really smart people" does India have to offer?

“If you look at India, China and Russia, they all have strong education heritages. Even if you discount 90% of the people there as uneducated farmers, you still end up with about 300 million people who are educated. That’s bigger than the U.S. workforce.”
(Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel, December 2003)

How successful have Indian immigrants been in the United States?

“Indians are the ‘next Jews’ of America. Presently numbering 1.2 million, they have risen to prominence in every walk of life.”
(Jagdish Bhagwati, economics professor at Columbia University, March 2000)

Yet, what makes it difficult for Indian immigrants to get a start in countries in the West?

“Western countries are using immigration laws to undermine India’s competitiveness.”
(Senior official in New Delhi, April 2003)

How does India view these restrictions?

“If the United States feels we must understand their political compulsions, why is it that U.S. politicians or trade negotiators sitting at the table would not understand our political difficulties?”
(Arun Shourie, India’s Minister for Disinvestment, Communications and Information Technology, March 2004)

How can India pool its influence with other emerging market countries?

“India and Brazil can together create a political force able to help change global trade geography to better meet the interests of the planet’s poorest people.”
(Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, January 2004)

Why does India's rapid integration into the global economy pose some challenges?

“What happens when a farmer who does not yet have access to piped drinking water tunes into ‘Baywatch’? All of a sudden some of the most remote parts of India are in synch with the West.”
(Raghavendra Rathore, Indian designer, September 2000)

What are the social implications of this immersion?

“What will happen if India’s old structures of social security decay — without the Western-style version of social security taking their place? Shall we see more private old-age homes for the privileged — and for the poor, more elderly beggars on the streets?”
(Jeremy Seabrook, British author, May 2003)

How has job outsourcing from other countries influenced young Indians?

“They are materialistic — their values are changing.”
(Former call center employee, February 2004)

How, specifically, has technology changed ancient Indian customs?

“The traditional way of finding a husband or wife takes at least three months. On the web, it can take less than one day. It is much easier to qualify — or disqualify — someone online.”
(Bharat Manglani, chairman of Suitablematch.com, September 2000)

Will India benefit from attempts to reduce the cost of new drugs?

"The big pharmaceutical companies say it costs them at least $800 million to develop a new drug. Well, we can do it for $50 million.”
(Swati Piramal, director of research at Indian drug company Nicholas Piramal, August 2004)

What is the potential of India's medical industry?

“If we do this right, we can heal the world.”
(Prathap C. Reddy, founder of one of India’s biggest private health care providers, October 2004)

Is India ready to capitalize on the surge in demand for plastic surgery in the developed world?

“Coming to India for cosmetic surgery is really going to take off, because those procedures are not covered by insurance in the West — and even if you include the cost of an air ticket to India, it is still much cheaper to come here and get it done.”
(Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, chairman of the Apollo Group of Hospitals, November 2003)

And finally, do movies hold the key to understanding the cultural differences between India and the West?

“We can’t compete with Hollywood as far as action — but they can’t compete with us in emotions.”
(Indian film industry expert Komal Nahta, October 2000)

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