BlackBerry to be catalyst for India’s progress, says co-CEO

October 8th, 2008 - 4:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Oct 8 (IANS) BlackBerry will be a major tool in India’s quest to become a developed nation by 2020, according to a top official at the maker of the device Research in Motion (RIM).”BlackBerry could be a great platform for India’s 2020 vision of development - something RIM is currently cooperating with the Indian government on,” RIM’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in his address at the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC) Diwali dinner here Tuesday night.

He said Blackberry has already become an “essential tool for the rapidly growing business people in India’s world-class industry”.

Balsillie said BlackBerry already has five carriers in India - Bharati Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, BPL and Tata Communications - and that it would soon add two more carriers.

“We have opened a new office in Mumbai and the business is growing rapidly. There are several hundred thousand BlackBerry users in India today, and we anticipate millions of customers before long,” he said.

Describing the BlackBerry as “profoundly empowering and democratic”, Balsillie said: “It will allow millions of people in India to leapfrog and transit straight to the 21st century. And as it is, few countries are making that transition as dramatically as India.”

In the rapidly changing world, the RIM co-CEO said: “India is a major agent of that change.”

Recalling his recent visit to India, Balsillie said he was profoundly impressed by “breath-taking transition under way in India.”

Lavishing praise on India’s ancient scriptures, literature and philosophy, he said modern science was based on the concept of zero and the decimal system developed by ancient Indians.

And contemporary India entrepreneurs, including the Mittals, the Tatas, and IT companies such as Infosys have left their mark on the world, he added.

In a few years, Balsillie said, India will become the fourth largest economy in the world and reach the status of a developed nation by 2020.

For deeper engagement between India and Canada, he suggested a permanent Canadian education presence in India to recruit Indian students, and permanent exchange programmes for businesses as well as the best and brightest talent.

Earlier, C-IBC chairman Roy MacLaren paid rich tributes to the late Thomas Bata who founded the organisation 26 years ago to bring India and Canada closer.

Deputy chairman Gary Comerford said India was no longer an elephant. “For its rapid economic growth, it has become the cheetah of the world,” he said amid laughter.

Outgoing president Kam Rathee said the council would play a bigger role in promoting India-Canada business ties in the coming years.

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