India still attractive for investment despite woes
Manama, October 7, 2008
Investments in the Indian market are still attractive despite a global recession, says Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) chairman Dr Essam Fakhro.
'The world economic crisis has influenced all countries including India, but the fundamentals of the Indian economy are still very solid and strong,' he told a seminar at the BCCI premises on Monday.
The seminar on 'Indo-Bahrain Business Opportunities' was organised by the BCCI in co-ordination with the Indian Embassy, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty made a presentation on 'Advantage India'.
ICICI Bank Bahrain country head Ajay Sharma and State Bank of India (SBI) Bahrain chief executive officer Praveen Gupta spoke on 'India as an investment destination'.
BCCI deputy chief executive officer Yousif Ahmed Almahdi welcomed the gathering.
Dr Fakhro said the bilateral trade between Bahrain and India is on the increase.
'The trade, excluding oil, stood at $350 million in 2006,' he said.
'Because of the increase in oil prices, the trade value also increased substantially last year.
'The visit of Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to India in March last year gave a new dimension to the economic and commercial relations between our two countries.'
Dr Fakhro said the global economic crisis has influenced all countries and there was a slight drop in the growth rate in India as well.
'The growth rate is still more than seven per cent which makes the Indian market attractive to international investors,' he said.
'In fact, this is the best time to buy stocks as the prices have dropped.'
Dr Fakhro said Bahrain, with its strategic location, liberalised economy and cosmopolitan population, is also one of the best destinations for investments in the region.
'Our financial institutions are solid and the regulatory regime is strong,' he said.
'Though we also got affected due to the global financial crisis, it is only relative, and it is only a matter of time before we recover and move forward.'
Shetty revealed that the bilateral trade between Bahrain and India stood at $880m last year, and the balance of trade is in favour of Bahrain.
'Despite the global crisis, the Indian financial system was not much affected as our economy mainly depends on domestic demand,' he noted.
'This year's growth is projected at 7.5pc to 8pc, and major infrastructure development projects are underway.
'With the new nuclear energy deal with the US, we have better access to world class technology, which also will boost our economy.'
Shetty said India, which is the second fastest growing economy in the world, has a foreign exchange reserve of $300 billion.
'With 342 universities, 17,000 colleges and 800,000 schools, India is also consolidating its position as a knowledge-based economy.' - TradeArabia News Service