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BUSINESS FIRST, politics later….

Aug 24, 2000

Japanese Prime Minister Mori’s visit has heralded a new era for Indian business. Japan has acknowledged that India’s capital has moved from Delhi to Bangalore. Instead of the traditional picture of a host Prime Minister smiling and receiving a visiting Prime Minister shaking hands at the airport (with the traditional ceremonial guard in the background!) we have pictures of Mr Yori being greeted at the Infosys Campus by Narayan Murthy. It is a telling comment. Indian business has finally arrived. The entire day was spent at the Infosys campus and at the facilities of Wipro followed by an address to the captains of industry. If a man is known by the company he keeps then Mori’s message was loud and clear. Lets do business. Curiously, even Toyota’s only production facility in India, located at Bangalore, which manufactures the now successful Toyota Quallis did not merit a visit. Cars and Trucks are old economy. Technology and the new economy shall dominate the agenda. Mori’s agenda was clear.

Tell India’s silicon valley that Japan has the money – a $15 billion war chest as an assistance package to promote IT in developing countries, “particularly Asia”, tap India’s human software bank by offering training programs to 3,000 Indian engineers in Japanese language and business practices, issue short term multiple entry visas for entry to Japan for business promotion, hold conferences, summits, send at least three trade missions in the next 6 months and in an apparently unplanned move, take off your jacket and tee off on the Infy campus golf course much to the delight of Infosysians who were apparently present in full strength!

Karnataka’s Chief Minister tried to keep up but as usual did the balancing act between trying to seek greater exports to Japan and meeting a socialistic agenda by asking for aid to build a mass transit rail system for Bangalore.

As far as our honourable prime minister and the mandarins in Delhi are concerned they are awaiting their turn to meet Mr Mori.

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