Government and Business Leaders Examine India's Economic Rise at Mumbai Conference, March 18-20, 2006

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Inaugurates New Asia Society India Centre

MUMBAI, INDIA, March 18, 2006 - More than 1,000 senior government and business leaders from 23 countries in Asia and around the world have gathered in Mumbai to examine India's rise in the global economy at the Asia Society's 16th Asian Corporate Conference, held March 18-20, 2006 at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai. Co-organized with The Wall Street Journal and the Confederation of Indian Industry, "Driving Global Business: India's New Priorities, Asia's New Realities" will examine India's potential to take off as a mature business market and how India's growth will impact Asia's economic future. Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is inaugurating the conference and the Asia Society India Centre at this evening's opening dinner. The conference has drawn business leaders from around the world, including 200 senior executives from China and delegations from Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the United States.

"Every business that hopes to compete in a globalized world needs an India strategy," said Asia Society Chairman Richard C. Holbrooke. "India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Its vibrant democracy, young educated workforce and innate entrepreneurialism suggest prolonged economic growth. But the country's economic future will also depend on its ability to accelerate reforms and overcome infrastructure and regulatory constraints."

In addition to the Prime Minister, key speakers include Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Indian Planning Commission; Bo Xilai, China's Minister of Commerce; and government officials from Singapore, Japan, and the United States. Richard C. Holbrooke, Vice Chairman of Perseus, LLC, and Chairman of Asia Society, will provide U.S. perspectives on India. A number of prominent CEOs from around the world will participate in roundtable discussions.

"India's growth has profound implications for the Asia-Pacific region and the world," said Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai. "The Asia Society's 16th Asian Corporate Conference has drawn an exceptional group of business and policy leaders who will examine the broad implications of India's emergence."

Roundtable discussions will explore topics such as the expansion of Indian businesses worldwide; the extent and implications of Asia's renewed focus on intra-regional business and trade; the effectiveness of India's economic policies; and prospects for partnerships between Indian and Chinese businesses, as well as multinational corporations operating in both countries. Sessions will examine the growth of India's financial markets and the country's energy and transportation infrastructure. In addition, the conference will address critical social issues such as urban renewal and development in India's emerging mega-cities, consumerism and rural development, HIV/AIDS, and education reform.

The conference is held with generous support from numerous corporations: American International Group, Inc., is the Lead Corporate Benefactor; Philip Morris International and Warburg Pincus are Corporate Benefactors; The Boeing Company, The Chatterjee Group, Citigroup, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, Grand Hyatt Mumbai and State Bank of India are Corporate Contributors; and CLSA, FedEx, Genpact, Goldman Sachs, Jet Airways, Kotak Mahindra, Perseus, LLC, and Sify are Corporate Supporters. Additional support is provided by YesBank, Business India, CNBC TV18, Moody's Investors Service, and Collaborating organizations include the American Chamber of Commerce in India, Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indo-American Society, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), and the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC).

Asia Society's Business Programs provide a leading forum for executives to meet the policy makers and business leaders who shape the Asia Pacific business environment. The Society annually presents this high-profile Asian Corporate Conference to examine the implications of macroeconomic trends and geopolitical developments for the region and the world. Through addresses by heads of Asian governments and other key decision-makers, as well as roundtable discussions with business and policy leaders from around the world, this unique series highlights developments in the conference site country while examining the cutting-edge issues shaping important trends in Asia's dynamic markets and in the global economy. Since 1989, the Asian Corporate Conference has attracted a combined audience of more than 13,000 participants from more than 40 countries around the world. The 15th Asian Corporate Conference, held in Bangkok, Thailand, in June 2005, drew more than 1,000 delegates in addition to more than 200 members of the local, regional, and international press.

Asia Society Opens New India Centre

At the time of the conference, Asia Society will officially launch its new India Centre in Mumbai. The Centre will serve as a multi-dimensional resource, a forum for intra-Asian connections and exchange , and a high-profile platform for U.S.-South Asia dialogue. The Centre will provide year-round programming in the areas of business, policy, social issues, arts, and culture. The Centre's first executive director is Bunty Chand, who was educated in India and the United States and previously worked for AT&T in both the United States and Hong Kong.

"The Asian Corporate Conference is an exciting moment for us to be launching the new Asia Society India Centre," said Desai. "It is significant that the Asia Society is establishing this new center during the 50th anniversary of our founding by John D. Rockefeller 3rd. As we work to expand our reach around the world, our aim is not only to serve as a local resource on Asian business, policy, civil society, and cultural issues, but also to promote intra-Asian connections and exchange - a key new area of focus for the institution."

About the Asia Society

Asia Society is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. We seek to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture. Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

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Media Contact:
Elaine Merguerian, Associate Director for Public Relations at Asia Society,

Until March 21, 2006: Asia Society Press Secretariat, Grand Salon I, Grand Hyatt Mumbai. Telephone: (022) 5676 1694; Mobile: 98 3354 2908