The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) held its Leaders@GCCI event at the Surendrababu Timblo Convention Hall in Panaji on 31st January 2024. The event featured M J Akbar as the keynote speaker, in conversation with Shrinivas Dempo, President, GCCI.
M J Akbar has been a prominent journalist and politician who served as a Minister of State for External Affairs.
Dempo started the conversation by asking about Akbar’s latest book on Gandhi and how his teachings are applicable in the modern era. Akbar stated that over the last 75 years, India has seen plenty of change. The country which was known for famines and religious and political unrest, has changed drastically for the better since 2014 and since then riots and famines have been unheard of.
He expressed his views on how India is becoming a Modern Nation. He said that there are 4 fundamental principles of modernity which are
- A nation cannot be modern until it is free and freedom is not the right to agree but it is the right to disagree
- We cannot be modern without extending freedom to the freedom of conscience
- A nation cannot be modern without gender emancipation and
- A nation cannot be modern as long as poverty exists
He also gave an example of how China is a successful nation but not a modern one. He stated that the Prime Minister has redefined the Indian economy as a pan-Asian economy and from that stepping stone he has turned it into a Global Economy. He appreciated the efforts taken by the Prime Minister in redefining the Indian Economy and termed his doctrine, Co-operative Nationalism. He mentioned that the Prime Minister believes that nationalism can be a force for self-interest, which is vital and should not become an aggressive ego.
In response to Dempo’s query on nation-building, Akbar said that, in 1947 a nation was created based on faith by Dr Jinnah. He mentioned that India has a Defence Ministry, which has led to a new outlook for our territorial and naval forces. Before the Indian Navy was considered as a port but due to this new outlook the Indian Navy today is considered as the guardian of security.
“Today neighbours are not defined by borders but by reach and that is what the Prime Minister has achieved by his Foreign Policy. We are close to the Middle East and South East Asia in reach,” said Akbar.
He was critical of the United Nations citing that it’s on the verge of collapse and has got a limited role to play in the geopolitical conflicts around the world.
Dempo spoke about GCCI and Goa’s natural advantages and spoke of a fast-changing world. Dempo said that Goa needs world-class universities, an entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem, a large talent pool, great medical and recreation facilities, an excellent public transport system, connectivity with the world, a growth mindset, and a focused effort to keep growth inclusive and sustainable.
Also present were Ralph de Sousa, Ashok Chowgule, Pratima Dhond, Yatin Kakodkar, Rohan Bhandare, Lalit Saraswat, P K Mukherjee, Joseph D’Souza, Rajesh Dempo, Rajiv Neugi, Pramod Rane, Chandrakant Gawas, and Sanjay Amonkar.
Earlier Sanjay Amonkar, Director General of GCCI gave his opening remarks. Lalit Saraswat spoke about the Leaders @GCCI series where GCCI will invite leaders who can inspire, change our perspective, and broaden our horizons. Harshvardhan Bhatkuly introduced Akbar while Yatin Kakodkar delivered the vote of thanks.
The event was graced by the who’s who of Goa’s industry and civil society.