After the recent crash in the price of crude oil, most west Asian nations are not exactly the object of envy, but the Gulf region is strategically important to India for three reasons. One, it is the source of the highest remittances into the country and two, is energy security. The third is that even if it is not a major source of foreign direct investment or technology, the region’s sovereign wealth funds are founts of much-needed capital. Hopefully, with the price of crude stabilising, they might get back to thinking about investing in emerging market assets. Until now, they have stuck to US treasuries and property investments in Europe and the US.
Despite our need, the new government has not shown any overt inclination to woo them. Deputy Editor, V Keshavdev, who was on special assignment along with principal photographer RA Chandroo for this Gulf special issue, says that state-owned institutions in west Asia care little about whether it is Manmohan or Modi, so long as they deliver on economic growth. As for most successful Indian businessmen in the region, there is optimism about the new regime but they are still skeptical about bureaucracy and corruption back home and are happy to be where they are.
Not that everyone is staying away from India. Three businessmen of Indian origin stand out for their investments. While Micky Jagtiani, an early entrant in the retail business, is seeing his chain of stores grow, supermarket king Yusuffali MA has been in the limelight for putting up the largest mall in the country. Both are looking at steady investments to grow their business here, while money-changing baron BR Shetty harbours ambitions of scaling up his healthcare chain and his pharmaceuticals manufacturing business.
This special edition also includes a feature on what’s in store for the real-estate market in Dubai, where high networth Indians of every hue have invested. That apart, we have expert views on how this progressive city-state is looking to leverage the upcoming Expo 2020 to give a fillip to its economy and why the crash in the crude oil price should not worry sovereign wealth funds from the region.