India is described as a nation of opportunities and challenges, possibilities and contradictions and now increasingly, as a nation of stops and starts. What lies behind all this and how should investors weigh the risks? How can India-UK relationship be strengthened?
To answer these and related questions, the Indian High Commissioner, Dr. Jaimini Bhagwati gave a historical perspective on the growth story of India and China. Despite all the challenges that India and China face, the two countries continue to enjoy the highest rates of growth among both the developing and the developed world; China is the front runner with India some way behind. Dr Bhagwati also highlighted the risks associated with any capital invested in India. The cost of lack of infrastructure, corruption and the spectre of a large number of unemployed youth are some of the serious challenges to investors looking for quick returns. Investors would be served well only if they took a medium to a long term view. Some of the sectors where UK could offer expertise and services were education, healthcare, IT and infrastructure.
The audience was an eclectic group with many members of the House of Lords, CEOs, executives of both Indian and British companies, NGOs and entrepreneurs. There was a lively Q&A covering a broad spectrum; where were the jobs for the growing labour pool, could India miss the manufacturing phase altogether, was there a way ahead for creating a manufacturing base, what was the main concern facing the government, how do China and India compare as investment destinations.
The High Commissioner’s presentation will be up on the website of the High Commission of India.