I am purely a representative of the post colonial mind set
anything I say, you are going to disagree with, and think
that I am going to recreate the British Empire of which I
am an Officer.
I find great convergence between
what I wanted to say and what is already been said, but also
frankly some divergence about how and why. So if I can turn
first to the convergence.
I think both Dr.Mashalkar and Ajay have articulated a vision
of India, which is about ideas, it is about knowledge, it
is about excellence, it is about inclusivity, it is about
success and self confidence. It is about wealth, becoming
a successful major market based economy. It is about distribution
of wealth and access to wealth, opportunity for all. There
is a debate going in this country about how to secure access
to every single Indian in the country to opportunity. It is
about access to health, education, housing, so that when we
go home in the evening we don’t have to drive past our
fellow citizens who don’t have those things. It is about
positioning India, if you imagine a 2x2 matrix of cost and
quality where India maxes on both. The reason for IT success
TCS is that Infosys and Wipro and the great bulk of other
IT companies can offer competitive products to IBM and Accenture
at a lower cost, delivered assuredly to citizens and corporations
around the world, and the same is true for pharmaceuticals,
and the same is true of movies for Hollywood, same is true
for motor cars, design and engineering, and professional services.
It is this maxing on both dimensions of a 2x2 cost and quality.
If I can just say what we need to do to build further, those
dimensions further; Cost-as Srikanth said a little earlier,
we have a cost advantage. We have a cost advantage in labor,
we have a cost advantage in people, we have a cost advantage
in people and ideas, cost advantage of realizing ideas, but
cost advantages do not last, and that is the great history
of economics. Things change and costs rise, new competitors
arise, and we have the cost advantage despite the infrastructure
that you will see when you leave here tonight, despite the
labor laws that mean that it is expensive and risky to hire
labor in this country in a way which is not the case (in U.K.).
Srikanth is able to restructure the labor in my country, and
a foreign company finds it difficult, an Indian company finds
it difficult to restructure the labor in this country.
Policy, tax. Compounding input costs. You have all seen the
research that suggests that in many products from automotives
to consumer products, India versus China, Chinese have a significant
cost advantage over us. Particularly in the long run of the
standard products because the input costs are lower, their
logistics are better, their taxes do not compound the way
which ours do. So all of these things need to be tackled to
realize the vision of continuing to be successful in terms
Second quality. At the moment, of course, as we heard form
Dr.Mashalkar and Ajay, we have a massive advantage in quality
at any given price. People. It is all about people. We have
superb educational facilities turning out management graduates,
science graduates, IT graduates, design, writers, film makers,
and these people are bending the rules and innovating. They
are being employed by Indian and foreign companies for R&D.
In Tatas we are trying to hire to develop particular needs
at some price points and we will carry on doing that. Indian
industry needs to come with us on that very exciting journey.
But, quality in this country still is too little; segment
of economy is about quality and segment of economy is too
I had invited to Mumbai this week, Mark Tully. I may be an
Officer of British Empire but he is a Knight of British Empire,
but a friend of India, and is somebody who has lived here
for 40 years. He told a story which for him sums up a lot
about India, but troubled me greatly. I think he repeats it
in his most recent book. He said he bought a ticket on the
Kalka express to go to Shimla. It was a super fast train so
there was a surcharge, and he paid for it very happily so
that the train could move fast, and he would arrive in Kalka
to go to Shimla fast. The train dawdled along, kept stopping,
and was going at a ridiculously slow speed. So when the ticket
inspector came, Tully said “Excuse me, or you sure this
is a fast train?”, and the ticket inspector said “Of
course, it is a fast train, Sir”. Tully said “But
the train is not moving fast”, and the ticket inspector
said “It is a fast train sir, it is just moving slowly”.
So, this is not acceptable. In the world of today the culture
that we need of innovation and quality needs to move fast.
We need, in Srikanth’s view, to be the volatile, high
velocity country as well as the low cost country. We need
in our management culture to be fast, to be decisive, and
to be precise; all of those things which in the world of ambiguous
India we find it difficult to do. We need to take the responsibility
for decisions fast. The cost and quality, and then we max
out to achieve the vision of India which is a successful and
inclusive country in my life time.
To turn now to the second half of what I was triggered to
say by some of the things that have already been said already.
I have written on the top of my highly sophisticated AV device
here. My vision for India in 2025: I think India, can, should
be, and must be the biggest beneficiary of globalization.
You have, and we have, it is all going for us, the cost and
quality, people and ideas. The world is integrating, we can
go out there and we can win, but to become the biggest beneficiary
of globalization, we need to let go, to pick up Srikanth’s
expression, of all of the baggage of post-colonialisation.
There is an awful lot of tricolor waiving frankly in the last
hour. I am not an Indian, so maybe it does not touch my heart
in the way it touches your heart, but my vision of India is
one where these things don’t matter.
Think of India, India has been the most absorbent country
in the world. Think of your food, when you go home tonight,
chances are that there is some chili in it. The most of Indian
of all spices, where did it come from? Latin America. You
will finish your meal with tea. Where did it come from? China.
You speak a language whose base is outside India, it is not
a Dravidian language and most of the languages of north India
at least, these are sanskritised languages, and these are
all India’s historic and fantastic engagement with the
rest of the world. Whether it is religion, ideas, linguistics,
culture, or food, India is a country which has absorbed and
given more than any other country that I am aware, and that
is why as a foreigner, despite the irritations, despite the
fact that the police here in Mumbai insist that once a year
I go along to the police station like a criminal and register.
I take my 6 year old son to register with the police; I have
to take him out of school to go to register with the police.
These things are the irritants which come out of the mind
set which says we don’t want foreigners here. We don’t
want people from outside to come. We are suspicious of you;
you are obviously here to do something East India Company
like to us. We don’t want you in our retailing. We don’t
want you in our real estate; we don’t want you in our
nuclear power or telecom. India to me is a country which can
forego all this. When Indians go overseas think of the success
they make. Indian managers to me in India are like athletes
training in Mexico City with a backpack. Soon as they get
out of India they sprint. If Indians can go to my country,
America, or Australia, every other country in the world, South
Africa, and succeed, what fear could you possibly have of
foreign capital coming in to India? Of foreign ideas coming
in to India? Why does it matter R&D patents filed in Bangalore
owned by GE or Tatas? Piramal or Glaxo? You are still employing
Indians; you are still generating wealth, whether it is Glaxo
or whether it is GE or whether it is Piramal or whether it
There was a recent BCG-CII study, the last time Ajay and I
saw each other, it was on a platform similar to this when
this study was launched. A 100 attacker companies were identified
by BCG and CII. Of these 41 came from China, and 21 from India,
so from 100 attacker emerging companies which could be Fortune
500 companies, 21 were from India and 41 from China. Of the
41 from China, 40 were state sector companies and 1 was private
sector. Of the 21 from India, 1 was public sector, ONGC, and
20 were private sector. So Indian companies, I believe, without
much support from the government, are going to go overseas
in the next 5-10-20-30-100 years and become massively successful
sector leaders, create wealth and jobs, for Indians and foreigners.
Create wealth for Indians or foreigners, and create in India
which rejoins with the rest of the world and gets over the
Muslim invasions, the British Empire, decolonization processes,
socialism, and nation building, because you don’t need
those things any more. You need to be at ease with yourself
and have the self confidence to pick up a theme that was mentioned
several times. To know that we will win from India. We have
all the advantages. Why is that the companies in Detroit fear
Indian automotive companies that are tiny at this stage? Because,
we can produce a 1 lakh car, which they cannot. Because we
are the future, and it is the future they have to come to
terms with us on our terms.
So, great convergence, with what the last 3 speakers have
said but also a plea, be self confident, go overseas and win.
You do not need to have a sense of discomfort with globalization
because India is going to be the biggest beneficiary of globalization.