The Tamil Nadu government should match its outreach activities with speedy decision-making Tamil Nadu is not known to be a State that markets itself on a large scale to grab the attention of the rest of the world. Even when the process of economic liberalisation gained momentum in the late 1990s, the State’s Chief Ministers, Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi, remained largely unmoved. This was when their counterparts in other southern States, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, went abroad frequently to promote their States and woo investors. This is why Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s two week-long visit in August-September to the U.K., the U.S., and UAE drew attention as a noteworthy event. It also did not go unnoticed that a Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was visting the West after a gap of over 40 years, and to a foreign country after 20 years. More than two decades ago, in January 1999, Karunanidhi made a brief visit to Singapore. Earlier, in late-1978, the then Chief Minister and AIADMK founder, M.G. Ramachandran, had gone to the U.S., Japan and Singapore. Mr. Palaniswami’s foreign tour came just 18 months before the Assembly elections. His visit resulted in the signing of 33 project-specific Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), envisaging an investment of Rs. 8,835 crore and the employment of 35,320 persons, apart from pacts with eight U.S. organisations. Among the areas covered under the MoUs are Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, agriculture and food logistics, Liquefied Natural Gas production and distribution, warehousing, and e-auto rickshaws. Timing of the trip Yet, there is a strong view that the Chief Minister should have undertaken the trip at least a year ago, as that would have provided more time for prospective investors to pursue issues in project execution with the current dispensation. Many also believe that such a visit should have preceded the two-day Global Investors Meet (GIM) in January. The GIM led to the signing of 304 MoUs and 12,360 pacts concerning micro, small and medium enterprises, with investment commitments totalling Rs. 3,00,431 crore. However, a Chief Minister is not just the administrative head of a State; he is also the political executive and must take into account political factors before deciding to embark on any foreign journey. A year ago, Mr. Palaniswami was in the process of consolidating his position within the party and the government. Further, an element of political uncertainty had prevailed as the final verdict of the Madras High Court on the disqualification of 18 MLAs was still pending. That the political situation has now become conducive for him could be seen from the fact that he chose not to distribute his portfolios among his ministerial colleagues before he left Chennai, contrary to what two of his predecessors, Karunanidhi and MGR, had followed in the 1970s during their overseas visits.