India aims to become the second-largest economy globally with an estimated 32 trillion dollars GDP

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Envisions exponential growth by 2047

By Paul Francis X. Fernandes
Arab Times/Al-Seyassah Staff

Indian Ambassador Dr Adarsh Swaika addresses the 2nd edition of the India-Kuwait Investment Conference in Kuwait.

KUWAIT CITY, April 24: In collaboration with the Indian Business & Professional Council IBPC), Kuwait, with support of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), and the Union of Investment Companies (UIC), Kuwait, the Indian Embassy organized the second edition of the India-Kuwait Investment Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel, Kuwait.

In his address to the gathering, the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, HE Dr Adarsh Swaika said, “The positive vibes created by last year’s Investment Conference encouraged us to organize the event this year as well and we hope to institutionalize this annual event for the next few years in the calendar of events in Kuwait.

“Allow me,” he said, “to thank all stakeholders for their presence here, particularly the Managing Director of KIA, Kuwait Conference despite current geopolitical uncertainties and climatic vagaries in the region. I also take the opportunity to thank all potential end-users of this conference for their presence. Most importantly, this event would not have been possible without the support and assistance of the Executive Committee members of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC).

Investment opportunities in India abound across diverse sectors including manufacturing, infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, healthcare, and agriculture. India’s rapidly growing economy, pro-business reforms, thriving startup ecosystem, strategic location, and large market size make it an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign investors. Initiatives like Make in India and Digital India further enhance the investment landscape, promising lucrative prospects for those seeking to capitalize on India’s dynamic market potential.

The Indian envoy emphasized that the cornerstone of India-Kuwait relations has historically been trade and commerce, a reality that remains relevant as both nations stand on the brink of significant transformation. India, poised as the world’s fifth-largest economy, aims to achieve developed status by 2047 under the banner of ‘Viksit Bharat’, while Kuwait pursues its ambitious Vision 2035.

Dr Swaika added, that the pivotal challenge lies in harnessing this momentum, translating it into tangible opportunities, identifying connections, assessing viability, and crafting compelling business cases. Reflecting on past inquiries, he reiterated the fundamental question: Why invest in India? The answer, he contended, lies not in subjective philosophies but in factual evidence:

Economic Resilience and Growth — India boasts the title of the fastest-growing major economy globally, currently ranking as the fifth-largest with a GDP of USD 3.5 trillion. Projections anticipate it ascending to the world’s third-largest economy by 2027-28. With over 522 million in its workforce, India maintains a remarkable growth rate above 6% annually, with a GDP growth rate of 7.2% last year.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Inflows — India consistently attracts FDI, reflecting investor confidence in its economic fundamentals. Over the past decade, FDI inflows totaled USD 596 billion, with an annual increase from USD 35 billion to USD 84 billion last year. The implementation of a National Single Window Clearance system further streamlines investment processes.

Diverse Investment Opportunities — India offers a diverse array of investment prospects across sectors such as manufacturing, infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, healthcare, and agriculture. Initiatives like Make in India and Digital India bolster its attractiveness. Notably, the Productivity-linked Investment scheme, with USD 44 billion in financial incentives, aims to foster domestic production across 14 priority sectors.

Strategic Location and Market Access — With a market size exceeding 1.4 billion people, India serves as a strategic gateway to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. In 2023, Indian exports reached USD 770 billion.

Massive Infrastructure Development — India’s infrastructure expansion includes 100 critical transport projects worth USD 9 billion, offering investment opportunities. Over the past decade, the number of airports doubled to 149, while rail and road networks expanded significantly.

Technology and Innovation Hub — India has emerged as a global hub for innovation and technology, boasting a thriving startup ecosystem. It is poised to become a USD 1 trillion digital economy by 2026, with significant patent grants and startup registrations.

“These achievements,” the Indian envoy said, “are the result of pro-business reforms by the Indian government, evidenced by a 79-position jump in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking over five years. Initiatives like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) have fostered a more favorable investment climate.”

Looking to the future, India envisions exponential growth by 2047, aiming to become the second-largest economy globally with an estimated USD 32 trillion GDP. Foreign direct investment and exports are projected to grow twelvefold, while India will boast the largest and youngest working population, with a median age of 29.

Acknowledging the current bilateral trade of approximately USD 14 billion, primarily centered on the oil and food sectors, he stressed the potential for diversification into infrastructure, manufacturing, renewable energy, technology, healthcare, tourism, and agriculture.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the interdependence between Kuwait’s energy needs and India’s role in ensuring food security. Efforts to broaden the trade spectrum must align with strategic investments, necessitating collaboration between public and private sectors.

He highlighted the increasing involvement of Indian companies in delivering high-quality infrastructure projects in Kuwait, signaling a growing partnership. The conference would provide detailed insights into India’s investment landscape, showcasing opportunities across various sectors, and inviting attendees to capitalize on India’s allure as a global investment hotspot and manufacturing hub.

Saleh Al-Selmi, Chairman, the Union of Investment Companies (UIC); in his address said India and Kuwait share a long history of cooperation across various sectors, including energy, infrastructure, finance, and technology. The strategic geographical location of Kuwait and the vibrant economy of India have complemented each other, offering significant opportunities for bilateral investment and trade.

To support his statement, Al-Selmi highlighted some trade and economic statistics to illustrate the depth of the India-Kuwait partnership:

— In fiscal year 2022-23, bilateral trade between Kuwait and India reached USD 13.8 billion, reflecting a steady upward trend over the past decade.
— India is one of Kuwait’s largest trading partners, with key exports including petroleum products, chemicals, and machinery, while imports from India consist of textiles, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products.
— Kuwaiti investments in India have also witnessed remarkable growth, with cumulative investments exceeding USD 30 billion across various sectors, including infrastructure, telecommunications, and renewable energy.
— Similarly, Indian companies have made significant investments in Kuwait, contributing to the development of key sectors such as construction, healthcare, and hospitality.

Moreover, our enduring partnership is not only about economic gains but also about fostering cultural exchange and people-to-people connections. The vibrant Indian community in Kuwait and the growing presence of Kuwaiti businesses in India exemplify the deep-rooted ties that bind our countries together.

As we look ahead, there are immense possibilities for further strengthening our investment relationship. With the evolving global economic landscape and the emergence of new opportunities, it is imperative that we continue to nurture and expand our collaboration.

Prominent dignitaries who attended the conference included Ghanem Al Ghenaiman, Managing Director, Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA); Saleh Al-Selmi, Chairman, UIC; Rabah A. Al-Rabah, Director General, KCCI; K Rajaraman, Chairperson of International Financial Services Centers Authority – Gift City; Sanjiv Aggarwal, MD & CEO of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund of India; and delegates from Invest India, Confederation of Indian Industry, Gurvinder Singh Lamba, Chairman, IBPC and co-partner for this event.

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