'Amid Chinese crisis, India viable investment destination'

'Amid Chinese crisis, India viable investment destination'

'Amid Chinese crisis, India viable investment destination'

The current Chinese crisis offers a renewed opportunity for development and economic growth to India which stands out as a viable investment destination, the CEO of a group that aims to boost Indo-US ties has said.

Ron Somers, a long time India watcher who drove business community's relationship between the two countries for years, believes there is a renewed confidence arising of India and the current Chinese crisis offers an opportunity for development and economic growth.

"There is a renewed confidence arising across all of India – indeed, across the entire region – due to the commanding leadership being projected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Somers, CEO and founder of India First Group, told PTI in an interview.

Based in Washington DC, India First Group is a strategic advisory firm assisting US companies as they invest in India and assisting Indian companies as they invest in North America. Before establishing India First Group, Somers was president of the US-India Business Council (USIBC).

Having recently returned from India from a two-week business development mission, Somers said it becomes very clear to any observer that in the next several months India's long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation is likely to get cleared, paving way for a more streamlined tax regime that will boost commerce.

Building on India's recent opening of the insurance sector, this legislation will have very positive consequences. "The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is well-seized of the issue of providing clarity on retroactive taxation. With these positive signals and legislative activities coming from India, investors are heartened," he said.

Somers said Modi's "Make in India" initiative is evolving into a new campaign: "Innovate in India", which will serve to attract Research and Development (R&D) and investment across the spectrum of technologies.  "With oil prices remaining at the USD 40 per barrel level, the Prime Minister enjoys considerable breathing room to consolidate his leadership and accelerate structural reforms to grow India's economy," he said.

"As investors around the world contemplate investment destinations they cannot escape the evident opacity of China, the confusion that besets Brazil, and the turbulence being caused by Russia. Among the BRIC countries, India stands-out far ahead as a welcoming and viable investment destination," he added.

Responding to a question on the current Chinese economic crisis, Somers said in terms of the recent equities meltdown in China and Communist Party efforts there to manipulate the stock market and China's currency, China suffers from opacity, plain and simple.

"India does not. As clamorous and active as India's democracy is, it is noted for transparency. That goes a long way in terms of building and sustaining investor confidence.  Let the markets be free... is the lesson the Chinese government is learning the hard way," he said.

"There are challenges in all the emerging markets but India is in a great spot to attract investors and long-term investment. Kudos to Prime Minister Modi for embarking on roadshow after roadshow to attract long-term foreign investors into India. India is a very safe bet, indeed," Somers said.

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