India - Business CustomsIndia - Business Customs
One of the most striking features about India is the size and diversity of the country. Given its vastness and variety, there is no single way to understand India. That said, there are a couple of major issues that business visitors should keep in mind:
The sense of time is much different for Indians than it is for Americans. If there is a business event such as a cocktail hour at night, it may begin at 7, but people often will not show up until an hour or so later. Although many Indians are aware of Americans’ adherence to time, business meetings can also start late, so it’s important to keep your schedule flexible.
It is considered polite in India to inquire about dietary preferences, since Hindus abstain from beef, Muslims abstain from pork, and Indians of many religions are vegetarians.
The business card ritual is not so formal as in China or Japan, but it is a good idea to carry decent and presentable cards with you. Cards in English only are fine and you do not need to print them in local languages. When presenting, both hands should be used.
For your reference, some popular English-language guidebooks include: Lonely Planet India, Fodor's India, and the India Eyewitness Travel Guide.
India Trade Development and Promotion Business Travel and Etiquette