By kind invitation of Keith Vaz MP, the Henry Jackson Society was pleased to be able to host a discussion with Nandan Nilekani, author of Imagining India, Forbes’ Asian Businessman of the Year 2007, Co-Chairman of Infosys Technologies and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, to discuss the future of India.
Since the early 1990s, India has witnessed great social, political and cultural change. As the world’s largest democracy, its most diverse nation and one of its fastest growing economies, India is now, sixty years after Independence, universally regarded as an emerging superpower.
Of course, the country may be in the middle of a huge transformative process, but it also faces many problems, from extreme poverty and the threat of terrorism, to the impact of the financial crisis on its booming industries. Nandan Nilekani argues in his latest book – Imagining India – that India’s future success rests not just on economic growth, but on genuine inclusive democracy, social security, public health and sustainable energy. Only these issues can transcend India’s diverse and often opposing political agendas and safeguard the country’s future. Given the recent harrowing atrocities in Mumbai, continued tensions with its neighbour Pakistan and questions over whether India can and will act as a democratic counter-balance to the Chinese model in South and East Asia, Mr Nilekani’s analysis was highly pertinent. Particularly as India is about to engage in the most extraordinary display of democracy worldwide – an Indian general election – that is likely to result in electoral deadlock because of the increasing fragementation of Indian politics.