Days after Wharton Indian Economic Forum (WIEF) dropped Gujaratchief minister Narendra Modi as its keynote speaker, Mohandas Pai, chairman, Manipal Global, turned down the invitation to speak at the annual event, saying that he is upset at the way India is treated by a section of the international community. Pai was to address the forum on March 23.
Pai told TOI that his decision was prompted by a string of instances of Indian politicians and diplomats being “treated shabbily” by some countries. “I’ve been upset for a few days but the last straw came with Italy disrespecting the Indian Prime Minister and our Supreme Courtby not letting its marines face trial for murder as it had promised earlier. This is an insult to bilateral partnership,” he said.
His decision on Thursday coincided with Pakistan’s national assembly adopting a resolution condemning the hanging of 2001 parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Sri Lankan navy personnel arresting 60 Indian fishermen when they were fishing near Katchatheevu close to Rameswaram.
“Wharton treated Narendra Modi shabbily, our Prime Minister and Supreme Court are treated badly by the Italian government, Pakistan is making comments on Afzal Guru’s hanging, Lanka is treating our fishermen as illegal immigrants. Now, I don’t feel good about attending the Wharton event,” Pai said.
Gautam Adani of the Adani Group and Atul Nishar from Hexaware Technologies had backed out after Wharton withdrew its invitation to Modi.
The annual event brings together business & political leaders, professionals, academics and students from around the world to analyse India’s key social, political and financial challenges.