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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2555

'Indian economy is resilient to global headwinds'

By Prakash M Swamy
Chennai, 15 February, (

The US ruling on cancellation of H-1B visa rules poses risk towards IT companies immigrants and offshore projects, expectation is that costs may escalate for these companies operating in US. Global growth is challenging, however Indian economy is resilient to global headwinds on account of the strong domestic fundamentals, said Dr Raghavan Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank in Qatar.

The recent budget had given thrust on infrastructure, agriculture and aims to revive the growth of Indian economy. India exported $6 billion worth of drugs to the US in 2015 and restrictions on pharmaceutical imports and manufacturing abroad could impact the industry in India, he said.

The Indian government has encouraged global investors to participate through FDI. The recent budget has stated that foreign investment promotion board will be abolished, which will improve ease of doing business.

IMF has pegged India growth at 7.2 percent in 2017.India's Current Account Deficit decreased from about 1 percent of GDP last year to 0.3 percent of GDP in first half of 2016-17. India has pegged fiscal deficit for 2017-18 at 3.2 percent and its Forex Reserves at $361 billion offer a comfortable cover for 12 months of imports thanks to better financial management by Narendra Modi government, he said.

Contentious issues are coming between developed and developing world on global trade and investment. The lack of convergence between politics and economics could impact global growth. We’re entering a new stage of international global relations where national policies could shape how globalization eventually develops, he said.

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the opportunities for India arising from global developments. ”After Bexit better trading opportunities with India than is possible as part of a 28-member EU. India has had a trade surplus with UK in the recent years. It is thus crucial for India to have a first mover advantage by executing a bilateral trade agreement with UK encompassing goods, services and technology.

For UK, India is an attractive trade partner, given its high proportion of skilled working-age population and high growth rate. This strengthens the possibility of an FTA between UK and India and presents a significant opportunity for India’s financial and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sectors. European Union (EU) hopes to soon re-engage with India on negotiations regarding the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA), he said.

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the opportunities for India arising from GCC. He said ” India should also continue to strengthen bilateral relationships with GCC in trade and in other segments. GCC – India Bilateral trade is close to $100bn in 2015-16. In Feb 2016 India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a wide-ranging set of seven agreements, including on cyber security, infrastructure investment and insurance.

GCC Sovereign Wealth funds can look forward to participate in India’s infrastructure development. UAE and India have agreed to collaborate closely to identify bottlenecks to trade and new areas of trade with the aim of increasing two way trade by 60 per cent in five years while significantly boosting investment. The new goal set by both sides is to boost trade by 60 per cent by 2020.Qatar and India can look beyond the buyer-seller relationship to include joint ventures,joint research and development and joint exploration. Indian can invest in the port sector of Qatar. Indian companies can participate in Qatar’s infrastructure development pertaining to FIF World Cup 2022.Qatar and India will enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of cyber security, including prevention of the use of cyberspace in support of terrorism and extremism. ”

The Institute of Directors hosted a Felicitation Function of Doha Bank CEO, Dr. R. Seetharaman on being recognized by the Government of India with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, the Highest Honor Conferred on Overseas Indians. The felicitation was held on Feb 10 at Hotel The Residency Tower Town Hall, Chennai, India.

Justice Dr AR Lakshmanan, former Judge of Indian Supreme Court and former Chairman of Law Commission of India released a book on Dr Seetharaman titled “In search of truth” a biography on him in Tamil and first copies were received by Poet Laureate Vairamuthu, Judge of Madras High Court Justice PN Prakash and Lt.Gen JS Ahluwalia, President of Institute of Directors. The authors of the book– Prof Aranga Nedumaran and NC Mohandas of Kuwait -were also honored.

- Asian Tribune -

Poet Vaira Muthu, Justice PN Prakash, Justice Dr Lakshmanan, Dr Seetharaman and Lt Gen Ahluwalia.
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