New Delhi (Sputnik): An Indian-born Canadian billionaire has announced plans to scale up investment in India, saying it “the number one country in the world”. Born in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, Prem Watsa is head of the $70 billion Toronto-headquartered Fairfax-Financial Holdings.
Watsa was in India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He told the English financial daily, Economic Times that he plans to invest another $5 billion in India over the next five years. He has already invested an equal amount in several entities in India.
“India contributes nearly 3% of the world’s GDP but has only a 1% share of global investment money. If this figure were to just double to 2%, that would mean nearly $3 trillion of investments flowing into India”, Watsa told the Economic Times.
“This country is so lucky to have a business-friendly man like Modi who is so focused on what’s good for the country”, Watsa said. “Mr Modi has an outstanding 13-year record in Gujarat and a five-year record as prime minister. This exceptional experience is highly unusual for a world leader”.
Fairfax, he said is in favour of participating in the Indian government’s asset-monetisation and divestment plans. It plans to invest in oil and gas, partnering with companies specialising in exploration.
Watsa said he was not worried about the growth slow down. “India offers an unusual opportunity. I travel all over the place. You know China and the US have some trade questions. Where do people want to put their money if not India? They want to put money in a large market, democracy, in a place that has rule of law”.
The Canadian investor has controlling stakes in several entities in India, including Bengaluru International Airport, and Kerala-based private Catholic Syrian Bank.
India’s economic growth slumped to 5 percent in the April-June quarter, from 5.8% the previous quarter- the slowest in more than six years, according to government data released on Friday (30th of August).
Renowned economist and former Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh has said the state of economy of the country is “deeply worrying”.
“The last quarter’s GDP growth rate of 5% signals that we are in the midst of a prolonged slowdown. India has the potential to grow at a much faster rate but all-round mismanagement by the Modi government has resulted in this slow down”, he said in a recorded reaction.