In India, A Promising Investment Picture

Asia Society's panel on the Indian economy on June 19, 2009.

NEW YORK, June 19, 2009 - A panel of Indian financial and industrial leaders recently convened at Asia Society headquarters to discuss India's financial prospects in the wake of its recent election.

Anand Sharma, India's Minister of Commerce and Industry, stressed the strength of the country's democracy. "[Indian citizens] voted not only for a stable and strong India, but they gave their vote to a secular India," he said.

Sharma said India's economy remains strong, even in the face of a global economic downturn, and remains an "attractive destination fori nvestors worldwide," citing the $2 billion in FII (foreign institutional investment) the country received in May alone.

Nikhil Deogun, deputy managing editor at The Wall Street Journal, moderated the panel discussion following the Minister's speech. T.P. Chopra, President and CEO of GE India, set the tone for the conversation. Hesaid education, health care, and infrastructure are the three major issues the new Indian government must focus on to sustain growth. Arun Bharat Ram, Chairman of SRF Ltd, added that as other countries' populations continue to age, the world will rely increasingly on skilled workers from India.

Regarding health care, Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group, described a plan for a "health super highway," which will help doctors provide better service to their patients in all parts of the country. Venu Srinivasan, Chairman of TBS Motor Company, agreed India must improve its domestic infrastructure, as its crudeness has so far only hindered India's competitiveness.

Given the renewed energy following the recent election, the panel concluded India is likely to tackle these and other issues as it continues to grow both politically and economically.

Reported by Zach Balin