What were your assurances to the members when you were elected as the 1st Person of Indian Origin to be the Chair of Indian Business Council ?
Firstly, I acknowledge with deep gratitude my sincere thanks to Paddy Marra my predecessor who had built the foundation for the Council and kept the Council going. It was a great task to build on that foundation.
It was an honour to lead the Council and we know that the business body has a crucial role to play in boosting trade and business relations with India. The position also carried with it a great responsibility where you have to deliver and to be of service in humility. My assurances were as follows:
1. The Council would focus on its core competencies, which are access to individual intellectual wealth which every member brings with them, lobbying and providing networks for trade and business in both countries. Thus add value proposition for the members.
2. To work along with the Executive Committee as one Team with the values which we cherish : Inclusion, Transparency , Credibility, Trust, and No surprises
3. To work towards the vision of INZBC being the pre-eminent New Zealand business association that exclusively promotes, develops and maintains bilateral trade, investment, business and services relationships between India and New Zealand and be recognized as such by both the Governments of New Zealand and India and the business community.
Have these assurances been translated in to any measurable actions:
I would say "yes" but then I am reminded of Robert Frost Poem "But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep". In terms of measurable actions I would confirm that INZBC has had a very active year, perhaps the most active and successful ever, during which some significant milestones were achieved.
This included developing and adopting a new constitution, introducing a professional communication policy and process, developing and commissioning a logo and website, first time having a Patron- Sir Richard Hadlee and increasing the working involvement of the Executive Committee in the day to day running of the Council.
I am also pleased to report that we have made a start with a five year strategy; much work has been done and I am fortunate to have a great team in the Executive committee which will develop it further and translate into an actionable business plan that will deliver ever-increasing value to our growing number of members.
Members will note that we are transparently consulting with them on this strategy – so that it is a strategy to which all members can contribute. As part of this strategy, the Executive has also adopted five key values that already underpin all that the Executive does.
We have also worked hard to increase the opportunity for every member to participate in democratic processes by establishing a system of electronic voting system, which means our international business people can vote no matter where in the world they happen to be. This was used for our recent elections and was well received by all.
Chapters were opened in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and are strong and active who primarily drive our local event activities. On this note, I congratulate the Christchurch chapter, which has re-established a meeting schedule quite quickly following on the second disastrous earthquake.
We are working with like-minded organisations in New Zealand and India, I am happy to report four major achievements:
We had planned and run an event in India for the first time. This took place in Mumbai on the occasion of the visit of the Minister of Immigration, the Hon. Jonathan Coleman for the official inauguration of NZ’s new Consulate-General office there. This event was supported by ANZ and by FICCI. Among those present were our Patron-Sir Richard Hadlee, National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, New Zealand’s High Commissioner Jan Henderson, Mumbai Consul General Gavin Young, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Regional Director (South East Asia) Alan Kozianski and Cricketer Shane Bond.
We organised, a Joint Business Forum with a high powered FICCI delegation, who were accompanying Hon Anand Sharma, Indian Minister of Commerce and Trade, in Auckland and Wellington .Hon Tim Groser ,Trade Minister of NZ also addressed the Forum.
At this forum in my address it was stated there was also a need for exchange visits by the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and India, accompanied by a strong business delegation.
We worked with ANZ, ExportNZ, Auckland Council, Auckland and Wellington Chambers of Commerce, as well as the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade and NZTE. This is a level of national collaboration seldom seen.
We partnered with Asia NZ Foundation and hosted Dr Raghupati Singhania, a distinguished industrialist from India and Trustee of the Asia NZ Foundation. We thank Asia NZ Foundation to give us the opportunity to work with them.
We have entered into an MoU with ExportNZ, whereby ExportNZ will treat us as their “India Unit”. This will project and drive INZBC into the mainstream export community of New Zealand.
What is your response being part of the NZ Prime Minister's Delegation to India?
This is an affirmation and recognition of the New Zealand Government of INZBC being the pre-eminent New Zealand business association that exclusively promotes, develops and maintains bilateral trade, investment, business and services relationships between India and New Zealand.
We are very thankful to the NZ Government, MFAT, NZTE, High Commissioner and Trade Commissioner of NZ in India and the NZ Consul General in Mumbai for this great honour.
You have already stated the objectives for the Mission in your previous edition but I would be happy to share on my return to what extent the objectives were achieved through this mission.
What would be your sign off Message:
Finally, I pay my tribute to each one of my members, my fellow Executives and those members who take the lead in the three Chapters, for their input and interest over the past twelve months. I thank them for the confidence and trust they have reposed on me and the opportunity to serve them.
I would request more organizations who have interest or already having business with India to be members and add value to the Council and benefit from the Council too. I look forward to another busy but fruitful year, with the Council being centre stage in business matters between India and New Zealand.
My message to all your readers is to consider this thought by Robert Frost: "Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference".