Executive Vice President, US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center
The country whose political leadership delivers the strategy for sustained investment, job creation, and innovation has the world at its feet.
India may have found its champion. In recent years, entrenched special interests, whose political strength influenced government policy to close markets to global competition, held back India's tremedous economic potential.
A hostile environment for intellectual property and limited investment stymied innovation. The resulting uncertainty hampered growth and job creation, especially in the cutting-edge industries where India, with its abundance of skilled and educated workers, should thrive.
Following recent elections, India now boasts its first majority government in three decades. At the helm, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the "Lion of India," looks to solidify the country's position as a regional and global leader. Does the Lion have the resolve it will take to wake the sleeping Indian giant?
There is a formula for economic competitiveness, and it involves education, infrastructure, logistics, rule of law, and the cultivation of an innovation culture. When these factors come together, dynamism emerges. Legal certainty provides a safe haven for research and development, which, in turn, drives innovation. Companies invest,
workers are hired and economies grow.
In an economy bogged down by legal uncertainty and muddled leadership, India lacked innovation and investment in recent years.
Today, under the governance of Prime Minister Modi, with his reputation as a clear, decisive leader, the sleeping giant of Indian innovation may finally be ready to stir. For the first time in many years, the government of India can be expected to speak with one strong voice. If Modi speaks to India's long-term interests, he may well decide that it is time to put India on a path to investment, jobs, and growth by modernising the legal framework that promotes and protects innovation.
To do so requires Modi to instill Indians with a vision of their own globally competitive future. The constituencies he must persuade include his own strongest supporters, the leaders of Gujarat industry, that until now have been content to play a supporting role in the global economy. These companies thus far have spurned the research and development investments that drive original innovation and often spectacular economic growth— of the sort that China has enjoyed and India has merely envied.
An innovative India would create a welcoming environment for the world's intellectual property. It would also encourage development of its own 21st century technologies, its own life-saving medicines, and its own class of innovators and entrepreneurs. The world would be eager to invest in India's success, spurring a virtuous cycle of continued growth and innovation.