US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti highlighted India’s remarkable progress, promoting a cohesive identity within concentric circles and emphasizing the diaspora’s role in fortifying the US-India connection. While participating in the Indiaspora deliberations at the three-day event from August 22-24, 2023, at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, the ambassador advocated addressing the overconcentration of power, fostering a serious approach to bilateral engagement, and acquiring skills, especially in complex domains like semiconductors.
The G20 Forum by Indiaspora convened influential voices from around the world to deliberate on critical issues encompassing foreign policy, financial inclusion, climate change, gender equality, healthcare, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, sports, and trade and investments, and beyond. See below for a day-by-day summary of the event.
M R Rangaswami, Founder of Indiaspora, highlighted the far-reaching impact of Indian doctors and academics worldwide, emphasizing the organization’s effort to document the diaspora’s contributions. A pivotal topic was the role of the diaspora during India’s G20 presidency, with Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Chief Coordinator of G20 India, discussing its significance within India’s ‘Amrit Kaal’.
The discussions extended to philanthropy and its global impact. Atul Keshap, President of USIBC, highlighted the Indian-American community’s growth and influence, while Faizal Kottikollon, founder and chairman of KEF Holdings, shed light on his school’s transformative approach to public education in India and Africa
The event highlighted collaborations between the Indian diaspora and various countries, with representatives from Israel, Canada, Australia, and the UK underscoring the strength of their partnerships. Galvanizing Impact Philanthropy to India was the topic of a fireside chat featuring strategic philanthropists Deepak Raj and Ashish Dawan. The crucial theme of ethical and responsible giving emerged in discussions, where experts like Aditya Jha, President & CEO, dgMarket International, Shanthini Naidoo, CEO, St. Vincent’s Curran Foundation, and Mittal Gohil, Executive Director of The Desai Foundation, stressed the importance of purpose-driven philanthropy.
Sessions also explored AI’s implications on economic progress and societal needs. Experts like Rohit Jain, CIO, Harvard Business School Alumni Association NC, Jaya Vaidhyanathan, CEO, BCT Digital, and Preetish Nijhawan, General Partner, Cervin Ventures, dissected the nuances of AI’s development, focusing on rational and existential fears, data biases, and the need for inclusive models. The event also celebrated arts and culture with a talk by esteemed Indian music producer, A. R. Rahman, who emphasized the need for infrastructure and spaces to preserve and promote artistic expressions globally. The day offered insightful discussions on diverse topics, showcasing the potential of the Indian diaspora’s engagement for a more interconnected world.
The Indiaspora G20 Forum concluded its third day with insightful discussions on various crucial topics. In the panel discussion “From Homelands to Global Markets: Cross-Border Trade & Investment,” experts emphasized the transformative nature of global value chains driven by geopolitical dynamics. The emergence of ASEAN countries and the strategic cooperation between the US, India, Australia, and Japan (the Quad) were highlighted as significant developments. A key focus was on the pivotal role of exports in economic growth and development, as expressed by Indiaspora member and Managing Partner at Celesta Capital, Mr. Arun Kumar, and CEO of the Centre of Australia India Relations, Mr. Tim Thomas.
The event’s subsequent sessions delved into diverse themes. Chairman of the Quad Investors Network at America’s Frontier Fund, Karl Mehta‘s talk emphasized the importance of innovation and investment in critical technologies for the Quad alliance, envisioning it as a hub for cutting-edge advancements. Discussions also centered around digital transformation, with Mr. Vikas Choudhury, President, Reliance Jio and Partner at Pivot Ventures, spotlighting the role of technology in India’s journey toward 2047. Another session, led by Chairman of Panera Brands, Mr. Niren Chaudhary, stressed leadership through resilience and the importance of values and character in shaping individuals’ impact.
The breakout sessions further enriched the dialogue. Unleashing soft power, diplomacy, and cultural capital were highlighted, with insights from Mr. Muktesh Pardeshi, Special Secretary and heads the operations and logistics of India’s G20 Presidency Secretariat, Ms. Anat Bernstein-Reich, CEO at BDO Consulting Israel-India Investment Banking and Business Development and others. The significance of the Indian diaspora in contributing to global goodwill and relationships was underscored. Moreover, discussions on driving knowledge sharing for India’s growth led by Dr. Sudhir Jain, Vice-Chancellor at Banaras Hindu University, and Sunder Ramaswamy, Distinguished International Economist and professor at Middlebury College, emphasized the role of education and collaboration in propelling the nation forward.
The final day included panels on venture capital’s role in inclusive development, with experts like Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman Axilor Ventures and Co-founder Infosys, and Mr. Prashant Pathak, CEO at Ekagrata Inc., discussing the impact of investments on technology development. Another panel addressed innovation, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility, highlighting the potential of these sectors in driving change. Mr. Peyush Bansal, Co-Founder, Chief Executive & People Office, shared his journey with Lenskart and the impact on eye care and awareness. And India’s Finance Secretary Dr. TV Somanathan spoke of the ways in which the diaspora can help India’s surge towards a $10 trillion economy.
Overall, the Indiaspora G20 Forum Day 3 showcased vibrant discussions on trade, innovation, soft power, and societal impact. The forum illuminated the Indian diaspora’s pivotal role in fostering global connections, leveraging technology, and shaping the nation’s growth trajectory. With the spotlight on inclusive development, technology-driven solutions, and sustainable progress, the event underscored the diaspora’s immense potential in shaping India’s future.