Indian Decade

India Ready to Take the Stage?

A trip to Singapore is a reminder that the world really is starting to sit up and take notice of India.

Over the past few years, many of us in India have been fed a diet of reportage hailing us as the next economic superpower and the country to watch out for in the 21st century. Indeed, our voluble free press and the frenzied activity of our bustling democracy ensures we are so caught up in ourselves that it’s often hard not to feel that we occupy a special place in the world.

Usually, nothing undercuts this confidence more than some time travelling overseas, when any news you can find about India is often buried in tiny columns on the back pages of newspapers or else comes in the form of TV bulletins highlighting the latest natural disaster.

But in Singapore last week, I felt for the first time that we really are being closely watched overseas. As soon as I checked into our hotel, I saw the complimentary copy of Forbes Asia had successful Indian businessman Ajay Piramal on the cover, and there were several other pages devoted to India in the same edition, including a list of the 40 top Indian billionaires. Even on major networks like CNN, there was incredibly balanced and sustained daily coverage from the Commonwealth Games that went beyond the mandatory listing of the medals tally.

Considering Singapore's multi-racial society has a strong Indian presence, maybe such coverage isn't all that noteworthy. That said, I haven’t noticed such interest during any of my other trips to the city state. It made me wonder—are we finally ready to put our best foot forward?