Bahrain and GCC business leaders need to invest in the Indian market which is one of the fastest growing economies and opening up in different sectors such as construction, infrastructure and offering growth opportunities to take advantage of its massive consumer market. This was discussed by Bahraini and Indian businessmen in an exclusive event at the Capital Club, Bahrain Financial Harbour.
Indian Minister of State of External Affairs M J Akbar speaking at the event mentioned that the trade and investment between the two nations have increased over the years and the historical ties will be further cemented through bilateral trade.
“We have an open house policy towards investments and all the hurdles faced by businessmen such as red tape, uncertain taxation and the problems of random intervention are removed by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The international rankings and surveys have ranked India high on ease of doing business because of transparent clearing system and infrastructure,” he added.
Mr. Akbar even urged Bahrainis to invest in the Indian national carrier Air India as part of its privatisation, and especially in the technology sector which this month witnessed a 25% increase in jobs compared to last year.
“I hope to see business tourism from Bahrain so that you see the figures in our digital economy. In addition, our consumer market is growing with many companies setting up facilities in India because of the demand,” Mr. Akbar added.
Indian Ambassador Alok Kumar Sinha said bilateral trade last year between the Bahrain and India was $981 million while in the frst 10 months of this year reached $1 billion.
PineBridge Investments India chief executive Siddhartha Singh, who is in Bahrain to meet potential investors as part of his Gulf tour said, Indian equity market is expected to register a growth of between 15-18% per annum over the next three to five years. The inflexibility of doing business in India is changing, as it is opening up different sectors.”
Mr. Singh mentioned that PineBridge’s India Equity Fund has about $470 million in its portfolio that included investments from several countries including the Middle East.
“We do have some investments from Bahrain. Plans are underway to scrap old laws that delayed growth and new reforms to be introduced that will promote transparent and a free business environment. ’Things are definitely changing on the ground and we are constructing a portfolio that takes into account three parameters which are good business model run by able and efficient management and the price we pay to buy a piece of that business,” he said.
Mr Singh said India is attractive for GCC businessmen and non-resident Indians to invest their financial savings because the market is doing well. He said the second option for those in the region is to invest in infrastructure development, information technology and consumer market. He explained that four main factors that people see in India as a potential growth are demographics, urbanization, exports and imports and the efficient in energy sector.
Al Baraka Islamic Bank chairman Khalid Al Zayani said they were looking to enter the Indian market through Islamic banking, adding that India can be the centre of Islamic banking in Asia.
Bahraini businessmen spoke about their past issues of investing in India like red tape, lengthy court process, business arbitration and taxation, which Mr. Akbar affirmed that are sorted out by the government.