The 4th ‘Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit, organized by the Gujarat government on 12-13 January 2009 in Ahmedabad, and the statements by some prominent Indian corporate leaders, have spawned protests, analysis, debates and questions about corporate accountability, complicity, responsibility and rights in Indian democracy. At this biennial event, ‘Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat’ has been showcased as an ‘ideal investment destination, both for Indian and foreign investors’, where prospective investors have ‘only Red Carpet and no Red Tape and it is where investors can sow a rupee and reap a dollar as returns’ (see Official portal of Gujarat Government).
Bringing together business leaders, investors, corporations and policy makers by a democratically-elected government, exploring business opportunities and signing memorandum of understandings are legitimate economic activities. However, the projection of the Chief Minister of the State, Narendra Modi, as the next Prime Minister of India by corporate cheerleaders is much more than mere economic activity. It is turning a blind eye to gross abuses of rule of law, and knowingly assisting a political leader and his government to continue committing them. It is becoming party to a specific political vision in a manner that incurs responsibility and blame. Such corporate leaders thus become complicit with a government and its leader in serious human rights abuses. It is negative and unacceptable.