If you walk into a clothing store in the US and see the label on a shirt, chances are you’ll find a “made in India” tag, and it won’t surprise you.
If you walk into the cold foods section in Trader Joe’s or Costco and pick up a block of mozzarella cheese, you probably think it came from Italy – or Wisconsin. There’s a good chance, however, that it too was made in India.
Paonta Sahib is an obscure foothill town on the banks of the river Yamuna in the pretty Northwestern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, and it’s where a company called, Himalya International Limited is producing mozzarella cheese, which is being exported to the US in collaboration with Artignale Italiano based in Winsconsin. At the moment this cheese is being used in some American restaurants, but soon, it will be available in supermarkets.
Exporting is not new for India, as all the world knows. But what is new, is the kind of food and products India is now making for export. After having gained attention for being an outsourcing hub – mainly for software, pharmaceutical and medical services – and later for more domestic ones like homework and even offering prayers, India (and Indians) are now venturing into unconventional areas and gaining success.
Himalya International isn’t alone in its efforts. A Bangalore-based company, called United Pizza Restaurant, is all set to export pizzas to Europe. It’s a bizarre thought, but true nonetheless. At the same time, Indian wine producers too are vying for a chunk of the international market and exporting wine to some countries in Europe. Vijay Mallya – chairman of United Breweries Group, India’s largest spirits company that bought Scottish whiskey maker Whyte & Mackay last year for $1.2 billion – even wants to sell Indian wine in France!
To some this may sound a bit like carrying coals to New Castle, but not to Mr. Mallya, or to other bullish Indians like him who are clearly following the success that California wineries had as they began – a generation ago – to sell their vintages in Europe. And there are plenty of areas of India that resemble California’s wine-growing hillsides.
Thanks to India’s global successes, the country is going through something of an image makeover, and the change is felt by every Indian who travels abroad today. What was before seen as some far off land of inscrutable Indians engaged in mystical practices, is now recognized as a young and confident nation with an increasingly buoyant middle and upper middle class that is taking on the world.
The new Indian entrepreneur – Mallya or his automotive industry counterpart Ratan Tata – believes that India, with its young and inexpensive workforce and abundance of raw materials, can achieve any goal it sets its eyes upon. There is a if-it-can-be-done-abroad-it-can-be-done-in-India thinking which drives people like Man Mohan Malik of Himalya International Limited – to set up businesses and compete on a global level without worrying about whether its been done before or not.