Indian ambassador-designate Sanjiv Arora addresses a reception in honour of the Federation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at the Radisson Blu last night. Also seen are Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman, head of FICCI delegation Hiten Haresh Bhuta, IBPN president Azim Abbas and Indian Embassy First Secretary P S Sasi Kumar

By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter

India sees a “much heightened” role or presence of Qatari companies in the country as Asia’s third largest economy embarks on a major infrastructure upgrade that calls for an investment in excess of $1tn over the next seven to 10 years.
This was emphasised by Indian ambassador-designate Sanjiv Arora while addressing a reception hosted in honour of a visiting Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) delegation at the Radisson Blu last night.
In India’s infrastructure sector alone “huge quantum” of investments is required to meet the country’s targets on power, roads, ports, airports and telecom, Arora said. Although concerns and questions are often raised about the “relative slowdown” of the Indian economy, the ambassador-designate said the country with 1.2bn people has “vast competencies and resources”.
“India has more than 70% of the population below 35. And clearly, there is an increasing level of education besides growing income levels and an emerging middle class. India’s other advantages are a really predictable and stable business environment and a strong judicial system,” Arora said.
He said the economic momentum gathered by India since its ambitious economic liberalisation programme in 1991 provides “real opportunities” for growth, trade and investments.
“Even when you talk about sluggish times, a GDP growth rate of about 7% achieved by India is really handsome; although we are concerned because we had more than 9% growth in three years in the recent past. In India, our objective is to enter the double digit trajectory in the coming years. India is a huge market- the fourth largest in the world in purchasing parity terms,” Arora said.
“India is among the largest knowledge economies in the world, and Qatar I understand, is a very strong and emerging knowledge economy. That’s a very strong commonality,” he said.
The Indian ambassador-designate also expressed his desire to work closely with the Qatari community, QIA and QCCI to strengthen the “already strong and close ties” between the two countries.
Arora said Qatar will witness more rapid growth of development as it gets ready to host the Fifa World Cup 2022 and urged Indian companies to make the best use of the opportunities available. The Indian embassy and professional bodies such as the Indian Business & Professional Network (IBPN) would provide all assistance to Indian companies in this regard.
Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman spoke about Qatar’s “strong economic fundamentals” in terms of macroeconomic terms – current account, fiscal and investible surplus. Qatar is one of the most competitive economies in the world. It has got huge hydrocarbon resources with economic diversification as the key.
Qatar National Vision 2030 aims to build a knowledge-based economy. The country has got political and economic stability. Huge investments-with $130bn targeted at the Fifa World Cup 2022 alone are planned.
“Clearly, there are huge opportunities in Qatar, which is among the best performing in the world currently,” Seetharaman said.
In his remarks, Hiten Haresh Bhuta, head of FICCI delegation and chief executive of the Mumbai-based CGS Infotech, said the 16 companies represented in the delegation are all firms with innovative technologies in a range of sectors such as farm products, healthcare, infrastructure development, real estate and construction, IT, transport, chemicals and petrochemicals, financial services and commodities.
He also said India is a success story notwithstanding the slowing economic conditions throughout the world.
The FICCI delegation would meet officials of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) this morning.
IBPN president Azim Abbas also spoke.

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