Toronto, June 16, 2006 – The MaRS Global Leadership Series kicked off on Monday, June 12, as 120 people gathered at the MaRS Centre to learn about India’s rise to prominence in global politics and business. The event featured Kasi Rao of Kasi Rao Consulting, Raj Subramaniam, CEO of FedEx Canada and John Manley, vice-chair of MaRS.

Rao, also a fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies, spoke of India’s current economic growth and the geo-political forces that make India an influential global “swing power.” Rao focused on the factors that will make India impossible to ignore: a highly-educated, young population, the innovation and commercialization happening there, a close relationship with the United States, and its increasing trade with China.

Subramaniam, who grew up in India, used FedEx’s experience and the growth of their business to demonstrate the larger economic changes unfolding on the subcontinent. FedEx’s business between India and its neighbors, particularly China and Pakistan, is on the rise, as is shipping for the manufacturing sector. FedEx considers itself the “clipper ship of the computer age.” As such, trends in their business reveal underlying economic trends and show India’s expanding economic role.

John Manley moderated a lively question and answer session following the presentations. Manley’s experience as Minister for both Foreign Affairs and Industry informed his own views of India’s place in the world as he asked: “Haven’t we heard all this before [about India’s rise]? Why now?” Rao believes that two main changes make the time right for India—new wealth and buying power and the broad efforts within the country to encourage growth.

Questions from the audience addressed a spectrum of issues from how Canadian business people can take advantage of this new power to political concerns like India’s quest for energy, its relationship with China, and the implications of the long-standing tension with Pakistan.

The MaRS Global Leadership Series provides perspectives on the latest global trends and leadership strategies of interest to the corporate and investment community. Sessions feature presentations by top international leaders. For more information on this series, please click here or contact MaRS at

Click here to download Kasi Rao’s presentation.

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MaRS Discovery District ( is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and digital media technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose business.

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