New York: Time magazine's annual list of 100 most influential people of the year has always included prominent Indians such as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, actress Aishwarya Rai and Nandan Nilekani of Infosys in recent years.
This year's special issue dated May 14, has some surprises - and three persons with Indian connections.
There's one big omission in the Time 100, the magazine's list of the most influential people in the world - US President George W Bush. Time says he's missing because he has "squandered" his influence as shown by the Democrats' victory in the 2006 Congressional elections.
Meanwhile, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been named in the top leaders and revolutionaries in the Time 100 list.
Only one Indian is on the list, in the category of Leaders & Revolutionaries. It's not Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi.
Time Deputy Managing Editor Adi Ignatius says, “The person who probably wields influence in the way people don't understand, even if it's in behind the scenes somewhat, is Sonia Gandhi. And we really should recognize that. So, that's why she's on the list this year.”
Despite India's booming economy, no one from the country's corporate sector figures on this list, though it does include two business leaders of Indian origin - Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi.
“We have had others in the past. I think Nilekani was on the list last year. We really recognize the role of Indians in India and the global economy. They'll be there in the future. It wasn't meant to be a statement that no one was worthy. We wanted to include a couple of different people as well, ”Ignatius adds.
Sonia Gandhi and Mittal do not appear on the cover of Time's American edition but are on the Asian cover, displacing American model and TV host Tyra Banks, and the speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, respectively.
Time magazine has a red carpet gala planned for Tuesday. But the only Indian citizen on the Time 100 list, Sonia Gandhi, is not expected to attend that.