President Bush visiting India

President Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush make their way to India  tomorrow. In India President Bush will visit New Delhi and Hyderabad before going to Islamabad, Pakistan. There was a lot of media attention with a wonderful piece by Fareed Zakaria on the Newsweek cover but surprisingly this is not the top story in the US tonight on the eve of this historic trip. Instead, people are aghast at Anna Nicole Smith’s likelihood of winning millions in her inheritance battle, Iraq’s Shia-Sunni problems are front page , Google’s poor earnings are  a cause of concern as the Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a cause of both joy and hope after Katrina. Nevertheless as President Bush mentioned in a recent speech at the Asiatic Society and as Zakaria so eloquently explains -India is quite a mystery and of great hope to the world today.

With the world’s largest democracy and with large masses of people still relatively poor India is a paradox. Western students want to work in India and Indians in the West want to go back and forth. India has a Muslim President, a Sikh Prime Minister and an Italian born catholic lady who is the President of the ruling Congress party who chose not to become the Prime minister following the highest ideals of "dharma" or simply doing what she thought was the right thing to do.  The majority of the population is off course Hindu for whom McDonald avoids beef and has come up with the "Maharaja Burger". An open tolerant "raucous" society despite being a developing country- India can be largely trusted with confidential personal information – as in outsourcing of business processes. Simply a "low cost source" is not enough as majority of the world geographically and demographically is low-cost.  India’s rise says a great deal about democracy and what is possible with democracy and openness despite mind-boggling plurality. A cause for much celebration tonight…

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