Global business forum in Vancouver aimed at forging new B.C.-India links

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Praveen Kadle

Praveen Kadle, founding managing director & CEO, Tata Capital, is one of the featured speakers at the inaugural B.C.-India Global Business Forum. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

The timing of the province’s B.C.-India Global Business Forum aimed at fostering trade and investment relationships with India “makes sense.”

Business leaders from both India and B.C. will be speaking at the inaugural forum at the Vancouver Convention Centre Tuesday.

After B.C. built a successful relationship with China in 2002, the provincial government is hoping to explore the opportunities in India so local companies can network and learn how to benefit from its fast growing economy.

“Ten years ago, we reached out to establish new trade relationships with China. Over the past decade those efforts have translated into billions of dollars in new investment and countless jobs for B.C. families,” Pat Bell, Minister for Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, said in a release. “We aim to achieve the same success in India.”

According to The Economist’s South Asia bureau chief and forum panellist Adam Roberts, now’s the time for British Columbia to branch out.

“You want to kind of put your eggs in different baskets in Asia,” Roberts said Monday.

He believes Canada’s natural resources will be an asset to India while India’s huge population and fast growing economy will be advantageous to B.C.

 “It’s the right time for this idea,” said Roberts. “(And) there will be more rewards as the Indian economy grows.

“So it makes sense for people to start understanding the Indians there.”

Originally from the United Kingdom, Roberts has been stationed in Delhi for two and a half years. As a panellist he plans to share his advice based on his time living there.

“Some things about India can sound very intimidating from a distance,” he said. “But it’s much more straightforward when you get there.”

Roberts suggests developing good local contacts and on-the-ground knowledge.

“Get a good local partner and good local advice because nothing beats knowledge on the ground, getting there and getting to see the place,” he said.

But he warned it can be difficult working and dealing with the Indian bureaucrats.

“(There’s) problems of corruption … the politics of the place, it’s quite a murky place to do business sometimes,” he said, which is why he suggests getting to know the area first.

Other panellists include:

  • B.C. Premier Christy Clark
  • Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, Indian High Commissioner to Canada
  • Praveen Kadle, founding managing director & CEO, Tata Capital
  • Puneet Vatsayan, founder & chairman, The Hatch for Startups
  • M.J. Akbar, leading Indian journalist and editor-in-chief, The Sunday Guardian
  • Mike Manson, CEO and co-founder, TaraSpan
  • Nicholas Sonntag, executive vice-president, Westport Innovations
  • Vivek Rastogi, vice-president, business, Americas region, Abellon Clean Energy
  • Nimal Rajapakse, dean, faculty of applied sciences, Simon Fraser University
  • Arvind Vijh, director, India Services Group, Deloitte
  • Yuen Pau Woo, president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation
  • Jas Johal, B.C. correspondent, Global National
  • Renu Bakshi, communications and media strategist, Renu Bakshi Communications

The forum will be held Tuesday, March 12, 2013, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre (East). For more information, please visit http://www.boardoftrade.com/events/bcindia.aspx

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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