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January 13, 2008

Foreign leaders make beeline for India

Bloomberg has a background article on a string of foreign leaders visiting India with business as their main agenda.
Gordon Brown's plane will have barely departed New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport this month before Nicolas Sarkozy's arrives with another contingent of executives seeking opportunities in India's rapidly opening markets. The British prime minister and the French president, separately visiting the week of Jan. 20, are bringing along commercial delegations including retailers Tesco Plc and Carrefour SA, attracted by a burgeoning middle class and loosening curbs on foreign ownership in the nation of 1.1 billion people.

...Brown and Sarkozy are joining a parade of world leaders coming to India with agendas that include closer commercial ties. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, visiting in October, said U.S. companies will participate in India's $500 billion program to modernize roads, ports, power and other infrastructure by 2012. The U.S. will help India transform its financial capital, Mumbai, into an international financial center, he said. During an August visit, then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan will help plan a $90 billion infrastructure corridor between New Delhi and Mumbai, including freight lines, power stations and improved access to ports and airports.

...``India has long been noted for its superb `micro' -- good companies, rule of law, democracy,'' says Stephen Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley in Asia. ``What has been missing is the `macro' -- foreign direct investments, infrastructure. What's encouraging to me about India now is that the macro is starting to improve and is reinforcing the already positive micro.''
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.