Another gathering of the global elite – the first one of 2023 has gotten over at Davos. This is year that the captains of western industry seem to be very pessimistic about, but that is not the case with the Indian CEO’s here. Most of them strutted around, including in particular mavens of the Indian technology industry.
While the intellectual discussions here focused on a variety of issues like the global economic slowdown, the fear of a recession, the aftermath of the pandemic and the climate, the one country whose star shown bright was India.
At a time when the Chinese gave the World Economic Forum a miss, again, and when the Russians are no longer welcome, it was Indian companies and state and central government ministers who were out in strength. The India Lounge, like last year and before, resembled a typical bustling market, especially at meal times. The joke, as one of the organisers said, was that this was the Davos langar that fed hundreds over five days of bitter cold.
But there is far more about how the India story resonated here. WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab underlined this when he commended “India’s decisive action on the climate case for renewables, its contribution to the global healthcare ecosystem, the focus on an economic model for women-led development, and its leadership on digital public infrastructure.”
“India remains a bright spot amid global geo-economics and geopolitical crises,” Schwab added.
The bit about India being a bright spot becomes even more evident with what Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for skill development and Entrepreneurship, and electronics and information technology told me.
Talking about the India Stack, Chandrasekhar said that at least seven countries have evinced serious interest in adopting and customising this set of open application programming interfaces.
“Many countries and without revealing the names, I can tell you that at least seven countries have evinced serious interest in adopting the India stack, in customising it. Later this month in Delhi there is a large India Stack Developers conference where system integrators from all around the world and India will come in and understand the India Stack”, he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered this solution free-of-cost to the globe.
Chandrasekhar added that “there is a lot of awe and respect for how India used technology during the Covid pandemic and how many of the decisions and investments that PM Modi and the government made leading up to 2020 came in very handy in our battle against the pandemic, and in our efforts to protect our citizens and their livelihoods”.
“The fact that technology has worked for the benefit of people in a crisis like the pandemic is the best validation for the technology capabilities that have been built over the last six-seven years prior to Covid”, Chandrasekhar said, adding that “none of us saw this happening that such a big thing is being built, but it is now clear in hindsight that what has been built has tremendously contributed to our resilience and our response to the Covid pandemic. As you can still see today – other countries like China, the US and in Europe, were not able to do.”
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