India Offers Opportunity for Trade and Investment

by Gustavo Barbetta Cruz, MBA ‘14


A dinner address by Tejinder Khanna, former Lt. Governor of Delhi

India Offers Opportunity for Trade and Investment

The former lieutenant governor of Delhi, Tejinder Khanna, came to Johnson @ Cornell to visit with the students from the Emerging Markets Institute and the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA).  Mr. Khanna took the opportunity to share a little about his views on Indian trade and investment.

He opened the talk with two pieces of advice for students. The first was to be open-minded and receptive of different people with different ways of thinking; the second was that we should always be humble and have compassion for others.

He explained that India will be having elections soon but that no big changes should be expected in the international relations of the country. China is the greatest trading partner and they currently have a large trade deficit with India. Because of this, India has good relationship with the Russians.

There are still some tensions with Pakistan regarding religious views and customs but overall India has a good relationship with its neighbors, thus creating an environment conducive for trade and investment.

He sees India growing in imports, which will increase global demand in some sectors due to its large population and increasing requirements for products.

In terms of investments, he sees India as a good place to invest as the requirements for investors to open a company are not too complicated and allow for new people to become entrepreneurs.

He mentioned the growth of the telecom industry with almost one phone per person; the automotive industry is increasing the number of cars in the country especially in the Delhi region.

He gave the audience some examples of how multi-national corporations have done business in the country.   Sony failed to increase market share mostly because it lacked an understanding that Indian consumers are mostly not brand aware and need to see the value for their money.  In contrast, Corning learned to be patient, and to slow down the way they usually did business in order to adapt to the country. Despite of all the challenges, he affirmed that India is a great place to make money and that there are lots of opportunities in there.

Although Mr. Khanna recognized India as a complicated place to do business, he forecasted growth in the services sector.  He cautioned, however, that there is a lack of specialized people and they are trying to close this gap with investment in vocational schools.

Regarding bribery, he mentioned that no one should accept it as way to do business. He said that it would be preferable to lose business than the moral.

He finished his talk with an encouraging thought “Believe in the development of all. Progress should be shared with all humanity.”

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