Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

India's ability to innovate a reason for outsourcing success

Hindustan Times - 11 November 2005

India's entrepreneurial skills and ability to innovate are the reasons for it being a sought after outsourcing destination, said speakers at a conference here.

At the conference on EU-India Strategic Plan: Enhancing Trade and Communications here, some Indian-origin industrialists defended outsourcing to India. Speakers at the conference, also attended by leading members of the European Parliament and executives from India, stressed that India needs to focus on improving transport, power and telecommunications to realise the high potential of trade with Europe.

Speakers identified the infrastructure area as one that needed immediate attention because that was India's one area of weakness compared to its competitors, such as China.

Nirj Deva, a British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) of Indian origin and chairman of the Europe-India Chamber of Commerce (EICC), defending outsourcing to India, said it was mainly due to "lethargy of innovation in the EU".

"Jobs are not being created because we have stopped innovating. In Europe we are regulating ourselves out of existence," Deva said.

Sanjay Dalmia, chairman of the Dalmia group of companies, reminded the audience about general misconceptions over outsourcing. "If India and China are rising up today, it's because of their entrepreneurial skills and their ability to innovate," he said.

Charles Tannock, a British MEP, said that although "EU-India trade is increasing at an astonishing rate of 20 percent per annum the potential is still greater". He said some 400 Indian companies were present in Britain alone, out of which 332 were in the IT sector.

Colette Mathur, director, World Economic Forum (Switzerland), highlighted the similarities between India and Europe and said: "India is more comparable to Europe than any other single country in the world due to its cultural diversity and shared values of democracy, rule of law and fundamental freedoms."

According to the INEP agency, Ajit Shetty, CEO of Janssen Pharmaceutica, Belgium's largest pharmaceutical company, voiced his concern at what he called the "lack of respect by India of intellectual property rights and patent laws which obstructs big pharmaceutical companies from entering India."

Another MEP, Erika Mann from Germany, said "EU citizens should not be afraid of emerging global powers such as India and China" and should instead "cooperate with each other in addressing common challenges of today's world in an internationalised and globalised context" such as trade, terrorism, or development.

Around 200 people - including EU and Indian officials, business magnates, academics, decision-makers, political leaders and social workers - participated in the conference organised by the EICC, the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) and the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in association with the Indian embassy.