Indian market provides huge opportunities for investors: QC official

India is a “promising” market and provides “huge opportunity” for investors, said Qatar Chamber vice-chairman Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Twar. Welcoming a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) delegation to Qatar Chamber yesterday, Bin Twar highlighted the “growing bilateral trade and the historic links” between the two countries.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Naushad Forbes, president designate, CII & director, Forbes Marshall, said greater opportunities existed in both India and Qatar for investments. “The closeness of the connection between Qatar and India is striking.

In many cases, these connections go back to generations. We can also build on these connections… productively in future.”

Dr Forbes said while the Indian industry was “active” in Qatar, certainly more could be done here.

“The other day, we listened to the Qatar Development Bank CEO, who said, ‘Indian industry is certainly active in Qatar. While the Indian industry is welcome in Qatar, it is punching below its weight in Qatar. There should be a stronger presence of the Indian industry in Qatar.’ This message we are taking back to our own members.”

He said Qatar’s efforts to diversify its economy, away from oil and gas were a “major development”. “And I understand half the Qatari economy is now accounted for by the non-hydrocarbons sector. In India, we are really keen to participate, not only in the hydrocarbon industry or infrastructure, but also in Qatar’s  industrial development broadly.

“Qatar’s hospitality sector is vibrant and promising. And there are many sectors, where we have an obvious match. Qatar’s infrastructure plans in relation to FIFA 2022 are striking. The investments that are called for are very ambitious. Indian firms can play a significant and activerole across various sectors,” the CII president-designate said.

Dr Forbes urged the Qatari industry to “consider investing in India” and said, “The potential for infrastructure investments in my country is even larger, simply because of the huge gap between India’s needs and what it has now.

“Every year for the next 20 years, we require billions of dollars of investments in India across many sectors. We look forward to greater involvement of the Qatar Chamber and the Qatari industry in what we are trying to do in India,” he said.

Dr Forbes pointed out that the Indian economy was “growing very rapidly”. The economy is deepening in various sectors. There are opportunities everywhere. “For example, we produce in India, up to 1.3mn engineers a year. It is a huge number. Clearly, there are opportunities for investment in India’s higher education,” said Dr Forbes, a former lecturer and consulting professor at the Stanford University in the US.

Dr Forbes currently leads a nine member high level business delegation to Doha, which represents

infrastructure, energy, heavy engineering, manufacturing, consultancy, and information technology among other sectors.

The programme of the delegation, coordinated by Embassy of India, Doha, with the active support of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) and Indian Business & Professionals Network (IBPN), included interaction with local companies with a view to develop and expand business in diverse sectors. CII, founded more than 120 years ago, is a premier apex business association of India, functioning as an industry-led industry-managed organization.

It currently has more than 7,200 members, including MNCs and SMEs, and an indirect membership

of over 90,000 enterprises from nearly 260 nationals and regional sectorial industry bodies.

CII has a network of offices within India and abroad, as also institutional partnerships with more than 220 counterpart organisations in some 90 countries.

India keen on an ‘early meeting’ of India–Qatar Business Forum

India has expressed keen interest to have an “early meeting” of the India-Qatar Business Forum, which

will further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries, ambassador Sanjiv Arora has said.

“We seek collaboration on all areas of mutual interest; the composition really covers a wide spectrum of

sectors,” Arora told Gulf Times yesterday.

He said the forum would be a “very good platform to synergise and supplement the mechanisms already in place to expand our economic partnership.”

During the state visit of HH the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, to India in March this year, an India-Qatar Business Forum was organised with the participation of a large number of businessmen from both the countries.

He said the bilateral trade between the two countries had been growing consistently. The bilateral trade stood at $17bn in 2013-14; of which $16bn accounted for imports from Qatar. “We would like our

exports to increase and in fact there has been good growth. If you look at the figures for 2012-

13, the growth in 2013-14 was as much as 45%.

“On the part of our companies, there are ongoing efforts to diversify their export volumes. For example, in the last three years, the number of companies coming for Project Qatar expo has been increasing. There was a time when no Indian company had turned up for the event.

“In 2013, some 30 Indian companies took part in the expo. And in 2014 there were 45 companies and this year as many as 60 Indian companies participated in the Project Qatar expo. While we would very much like our exports to grow further, we are glad to see the handsome growth in the bilateral trade. Qatar

continues to be a vital energy partner for India.”

He said, “At both the government and business levels, we are seeing a positive reaction and expressions of interest in the ‘Make in India’ campaign launched by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014. Also, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund of the Government of India is an area of great promise for both sides.

“So, we are already seeing positive receptivity and interest in these proposals from the Qatari side. And we discern the volume of investments in the coming months and years are poised to grow,” ambassador

Arora said.

He said the ongoing visit of the CII delegation was within the framework of the vast potential and shared interest of both sides to further expand business and investment partnerships. CII had last sent a business delegation to Qatar in September, 2013. “Gulftimes”

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