Sunday, November 14, 2010
Obamania in India
US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle arrived in India for a 3-day visit on the eve of Diwali. While there seemed to have been limited media coverage for his visit in the US, the Indian media just could not get enough of the first couple. Most TV stations virtually carried his visit live round the clock. Talking heads went nuts analyzing every word spoken by Obama and every action taken by the first couple.
At the end of the day, this 3-day visit seemed to be primarily a sales visit. A growing economy and a rising middle class is turning India into a desirable market for companies in the West. Obama was accompanied by CEOs of large US companies including Boeing and announced deals valued nearly $10b. He sent a strong message back home about the positive impact of these deals (50,000 new jobs).
What was interesting was that the first couple spent a lot of time with children and young adults during their visit. Given that nearly 60% of India's population of 1 Billion is below the age of 30, India has an edge in the upcoming decades due to a large and growing workforce. Clearly the youth will be shaping the future of this new global power in terms of innovation and consumption and Obama was attempting to reach out and connect and engage with them.
It was fascinating to observe all of this from this end!