The air, thick with curiosity and anticipation, whipped up excitement as the Prince of Wales exchanged greetings with the whos who of India Inc here on Tuesday afternoon, donning his favourite smile.
Addressing the corporate bigwigs, Prince Charles asked the Indian business community to take up issues of social responsibility along with enterprise development for youth, adding that India has a true sense of sacredness and attaches importance to human relationships.
Reflecting on the uniqueness and diversity of India, Prince Charles said: Many countries have colour and variety and charm.
What I find unique about India is the quality of Indias human capital and the strength of the diverse human relationships that underpin every aspect of society. Relationships matter here. Attending the business lunch were stalwarts like Tata group chairman Ratan Tata, Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj, Tata Sons director JJ Irani, Hindustan Lever chairman MS Banga, ICICI Bank joint managing director Lalita Gupte, Nicholas Piramal director Swati Piramal, Wockhardt chairman H Khorakiwala, TCS chief executive S Ramadorai, HSBC (India) chief N Booker, Standard Chartered Bank (India) chief Chris Low and National Stock Exchange deputy managing director Chitra Ramkrishnan.
Prince Charles added that the Indo-British relationship is valued by both countries and is flourishing on all fronts, including education, trade and defence.
Talking to the press later, Tata group chairman Ratan Tata expressed his delight by stating: It was terrific. I am glad he (Prince Charles) came to meet us.
Earlier at a morning meeting with National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), impressed by Indias software potential, the Prince of Wales was extremely positive about growing ties between India and UK, said NASSCOM chairman Kiran Karnik.
Mr Karnik explained that the IT sector will help enhance the ties between the two countries. Prince Charles stated that both the corporate and private sectors can benefit from the IT relationship, which should be furthered, between the two countries.
NASSCOM, in its presentation to the Prince, stated that India has resources that could make it the IT destination of the world.
Mastek Chairman Ashank Desai said the prince had expressed satisfaction in the software project, London congestion charging, developed by Mastek.
Other companies which had made presentations included Tata group companies, Zensar Technologies Ltd and IIT Bombay. While the prince did express satisfaction of the Indian companies having a presence in UK, he did urge them to look beyond London.
At the luncheon meet with corporate India, Prince Charles said: One of the many things I have learned about India in my contacts both within India and with Indians in Britain (who now number well over a million and are one of our most successful new communities) is the great importance you attach to relationships.
Family life, said Prince Charles, and the links between generations really matter to Indians, generating relationships that can withstand mobility, change and the passage of time. India has also built strong relationships on its history, which is perhaps why the Indo-British relationship is valued so highly by both nations. This relationship, encouraged by the governments, institutions and leading business associations of both countries, appears to me to be flourishing.
It is expressed at a personal level in widespread travel and tourism, but also in defence, employment, the professions, culture and education, and of course in extensive trade and investment in both directions.
This, said Prince Charles, is also reflected in the trade between the two countries, which has grown by a remarkable 16 per cent in the first half of this year.