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FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum in Dubai

India plans to achieve $30 bn by 2010 with UAE, which is the second largest destination for Indian exports.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 17:24 IST

Speaking at the FICCI–IIFA Global Business Forum 2006 in Dubai, Mr Suresh Pachouri, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions and Parliamentary Affairs, made a very strong pitch for India.

Referring to the growing middle class and its liberal economic policies he urged UAE investors thus, “Over the next decade, India would need around $500 billion in infrastructures sectors alone and UAE investors should look at becoming major players in this area.” He further informed that India would continue to explore new and emerging opportunities for rapidly diversifying relations between India and the UAE.

He stressed that UAE is the second largest destination for India’s exports after the US. It is notable that at $8.5 billion in 2005-2006, India’s exports to the UAE are bigger than its exports to the rest of the West Asia including Iraq and Iran. Besides growing economic cooperation, India and the UAE are also moving towards closer political and strategic engagement for furthering peace and prosperity in the region.
 
Leading a 100 member business delegation from India, Mr Saroj Kumar Poddar, President, FICCI underscored the huge business opportunities that both countries throw up thereby, generating excitement among business circles in both countries. Drawing attention to the bilateral trade turnover of $13 billion in 2005-2006, he pointed out that keeping the potentialities in mind, bilateral trade and investment flows must increase further. He suggested, “We should aim at achieving a bilateral trade turnover of $30 billion by 2010 and an incremental FDI flow of $25 billion over next ten year.” 
 
Elaborating, he said these FDI flows should be both ways. While Indian companies are globalizing and must leverage UAE’s strategic location, the UAE must look at investing its financial surpluses in India as it offers the prospect of superior and secure returns compared to other destinations.
 
In her special remarks, Shabana Azmi, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, pointed out the need for striking strategic partnerships and understanding each others culture. She said if Dubai can provide world class facilities and training in Film making, many Indian producers and film makers would like to come to Dubai.

Inaugurating the programme, HE Sheikha Lubna bin Khaled Al Qassimi, Minister of Economy and Planning, Govt of UAE reiterated the need to look at business opportunities closely that are growing in both the countries.

Newer opportunities across sectors in infrastructure, transportation systems healthcare, hospitality, energy, power and some knowledge sectors like pharmaceuticals, R&D and biotechnical demand greater attention.
 
Speaking at the session on ‘Strategic investment opportunities’, Mr. Niall Booker, CEO, HSBC, Middle East predicted that by 2025 India is expected to become the 3rd largest economy after US and China. Keeping the young and active demographic profile in mind whereby more than 75-100 million young workers are entering the job market, a very large investment is needed in oil, gas and energy sector in the next 25 years in India.

Outlining some key sectors, Mr Booker pointed out that besides energy sector, there are food industry, real estate, mining, logistics, healthcare and hotel industry which throws up real opportunities in India today.
 
However he also pointed out some of the challenges that Indian Government must address urgently. According to him the policy direction of economy is mixed, danger of rising inflation, retail is still on the negative list of FDI, China and Thailand, bureaucracy not market focused and finally execution and implementation is still a challenge!
 
Some of the questions from the floor pointed out at the excessive politicization of economic processes in India which hinders potential investors’ inclination to go ahead and invest in India. However, the deliberations at the Forum stressed that overall India’s macro-economic indicators are robust and stable.
 
Mr Jaspal Bindra of Standard Chartered Bank, Brij Singh of Baer Capital Partners were some of the others who spoke at the Global Forum.
 
Three more independent sessions on Real Estate & Infrastructure; Media & Entertainment and Health Tourism were held to explore India-Gulf synergies where some of the speakers were Mr. Yash Sinha, Consul General of India, Dubai; Raaja Kanwar of UFO Moviez, Ashok Amritraj of Hyde Park Entertainment, Vikram Mehmi of Idea Cellular, HECM Bhandari, Ambassador of India, UAE.