It was a pleasure to listen to Dr S Jaishankar, the newly appointed Minister for External Affairs of India, at The Growth Net Summit. I took some notes and soundbites:

Changes in the world

  1. Globalisation is under stress – especially in the following areas:
    1. Supply Chain
    2. Mobility of Talent
    3. Market Access
  2. Growth of nationalism, validated electorally in many places, with two types:
    1. Nationalism of confidence
    2. Nationalism of insecurity
  3. Global rebalancing: Rise of China is the sharpest manifestation of that, shifting the relative weight of the global economy

The three changes above are interrelated, and as a result, navigating the world is much more complex than before.

  • The world is as it is – we might argue we like it or not;
  • If you have multiple power centres, you do not engage some and reject/ignore the rest.

Changes in India:

Just look at the election results.

  • The government has kept alive and strengthens the expectation of change in this country;
  • Majority of people in this country think India’s standing in the world has gone up;
  • Contrary to many experts might believe, people care about how the world views India;
  • A lot of Indian economies is external – therefore making it important to negotiate fair trade condiments;
  • Silos are not a government problem, but a problem with any big organisation;
  • We came up short in many areas, e.g. our African projects, we do not have the right tools to conceptualise these projects;
  • We award projects to companies who have to find partners afterwards – that leads to suboptimal results. We need to examine who their partners and what their capabilities are before awarding the projects

Being optimistic 

  • My Job: manage the risks & maximise the opportunity
  • The landscape will become even more complicated – but disruption of global supply chain creates opportunities;
  • India is a US$3 trillion economy, we want to move to 5 trillion economies in the next few years.
  • Last time this shift happened was in China: we should look at the opportunities that came out of China during those years but also look at what tools/technologies that were not available then but can be used now.


Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].


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Jianggan Li is the Founder & CEO of Momentum Works. Prior to founding Momentum Works, he co-founded Easy Taxi in Asia, and served as Managing Director of Foodpanda. The two years running Rocket Internet companies has given him a lifetime experience on supersonic implementation, and good camaraderie with entrepreneurs across the developing world. He holds a MBA from INSEAD (GMAT 770) and a degree in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University. Unfortunately he never wrote a single line of code professionally - but in his first job he was in media, travelling extensively across Asia & Europe, speaking with Ministers & (occasionally) Prime Ministers. Apart from English and his native Mandarin, he is also fluent in French and conversational in Cantonese & Spanish. He tried to learn Latin (for three years) and Sanskrit (for six months) as well. In his (scarce) free time, he reads, travels, hikes and dives. Pyongyang, Tehran & Chisinau are among the interesting cities he has been to.