The other day i was wondering if the image of INDIA has really changed in the minds of the outside world especially the west. Statistics indicate that the worlds one-fifth population consist of Indians or are of Indian origin. But is the country today considered as an upcoming and powerful asian giant just like China is or is it still considered as just a cheap destination for outsourcing IT and BPO call center work with decent english language support?
While speaking to my European and American colleagues over lunch, i was shocked to know that they still think India mainly as a country of Camels and Elephants! I dont know if it is their true feeling or a deliberate comment. Here in Japan, indians are considered as good english speaking people with strong IT and Math skills. But is that all that indians and India as a nation is? Is the country today thought of as a real and strong upcoming force and a nation that can probably rise above the major first world countries in another decade or two? Many outside India wont think so. Why? Why are we not taken seriously yet by the outside world?
In my view, Indians lack Branding and Marketing skills. Majority are still quite behind in terms of communication and leadership skills. We might be good in Math and some English. We might be equally hard-working and dedicated to our work like the Chinese are. But what we really lack are the soft skills. The skills that can make people believe in you, trust you, follow you and stand by you. We fail to project a strong and interesting image of our country to the outside world. We lack the skills to attract more foreign tourists and thereby earn forex revenues.
Not enough is done to get us recognized and appreciated. Okay, outside India we are considered as good and nice people. People who can follow instructions and get the job done. But are we considered highly competitive, aggressive, and strong leaders like the Chinese are? NOT AT ALL !
Agreed that we need to improve on our manufacturing capability and product quality but what also needs to be achieved is brand creation, recognition, and respect. For this to happen, soft skills need a big-time upgrade and so does the civic sense ! A recent poll ranked India towards the bottom in terms of civic sense among developing nations. A stricter government needs to accomplish this. Would anyone dare to throw garbage anywhere on the streets in Singapore or talk on a mobile phone while driving a car in Tokyo or blow car horns un-thinkably and endlessly? Such things are near-impossible in these places. So why not implement and follow them in India too? People attitude and image change is what is the need of the hour in order to achieve true global recognition and success in the long-term. And this is more important than tackling Terrorism which is a threat to almost every nation today.