what recession? It`s Bollywood time in Davos!
Jan 25: Shelving worries about a global financial downturn,
this snow-clad town in the heart of the Swiss Alps is shaking
a leg to the rhythms of Bollywood this week.
a massive Indian show, with a power-packed delegation that's
the largest to the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF), India
and its economic performance loom large over this ski resort.
the opening plenary to special sessions to food and now Bollywood,
it's India all the way in Davos - host to the WEF that is
an annual networking event for the good and great from the
world business and politics. Some 2,500 people have turned
up at Davos from 88 countries this year and not one of them
could have escaped some message from India during the Jan
that anyone is complaining. From the moment you enter Zurich
- the nearest international airport to Davos - India is ever-present
on the horizon. A large advertisement, written entirely in
Hindi, greets the visit at Zurich airport reminding them it
is perhaps time to learn Hindi. The advertiser is Swissair.
along the snowy main street of Davos, the Promenade, are two
black-and-yellow three-wheeler auto-rickshaws. They are there
for the show, of course - you can't take a ride on it. Familiar
to all Indians, they brighten up a cafe.
is everywhere and we have a dream team led by Finance Minister
P. Chidambaram this year," said Ajay Khanna, deputy director
general of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) that
is coordinating the Indian presence here.
were swinging to Bollywood beats at the best nightclub in
town, Kabana, Thursday and Friday night.
are massively oversubscribed, with more than 700 confirmations
every night," said Khanna. The Bollywood night begins
at 11 pm local time and not only business leaders turn up.
Aviation Minister Praful Patel's here," said Khanna.
presence at Davos kicked off two years ago with the CII's
'India Everywhere' campaign, but the marketing push took an
air of urgency this year due to the global financial turmoil
triggered by the US subprime mortgage crisis.
large number of delegates at the WEF have been looking at
India and China as markets that may help cushion the worst
effects of the financial crisis. In particular, India, whose
growth is fuelled by domestic consumption, is the flavour
was a time, a few years ago, when the global community used
to ask, hey, what do the Americans think about this important
issue. Today, it's pretty much what the Indians and Chinese
think. The equations are changing," said Lee Howell,
head of Asia at the WEF.
idea, according to the masterminds of the campaign, is to
give India a "360 degree presence" in Davos.
the strategy has moved from showcasing India as a country
to Indian companies, reflecting a move away from a previous
focus on the government. "This growth story needs to
be told to the world, so we have brought in not only political
leader but also business leaders and thought leaders,"
has close to 60 speaking slots at the forum and is in 33 sessions.
Co-chairs of the forum include ICICI Bank CEO K V Kamath and
Pepsico's Indian-born chief Indra Nooyi.
the stage alongside Kamath and Nooyi on the opening night
was Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian chairman of the UN Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the organization that shared
the Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice president Al Gore.