With the GCC countries firming up projects worth $450 billion in 2014 alone, Indian investors have huge opportunities for investment in knowledge and skill based services, particularly in the field of IT, according to internationally reputed Indian economist and Dr. R. Seetharaman, Group CEO, Doha Bank.
Giving insights on the investment scenario in the GCC during a knowledge-sharing session with the Indian industry here recently, Dr. Seetharaman said Qatar, UAE and Kuwait are expected to implement projects worth more than $70bn, $85bn and $70bn respectively in 2014. GCC airports are planning to increase their capacities.
“India and GCC nations can harness strong energy relationship by extending their partnership to manufacture value-added products such as refining, petrochemicals, plastics, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals. GCC is expected to attract $57bn into petrochemical industry over the next five years. The growing demand for healthcare services coupled with regulatory changes and emphasis on quality healthcare makes the GCC huge potential for the Indian Healthcare companies. Qatar plans to spend more than $1bn in next 5 years to build and equip hospitals and medical cities,” he said at a presentation on opportunities in GCC countries.
“Indian economy is an ideal source for sourcing and developing agro-based value chain in the GCC region. Indian investors in turn have huge opportunities for investment in knowledge and skill based services in GCC, particularly in fields like IT. With greater emphasis on education sector and push for scientific research facilities in the GCC, universities and research institutes from India can use their expertise and the market opportunities to expand in the region,” he pointed out.
Doha Bank, the leading private commercial bank in Qatar, is planning to open its first branch in India next month. In this backdrop, Dr Seetharaman and his team including bank Chairman H.E. Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al-Thani, Managing Director H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Mohamed Jabor Al-Thani, and Board Member Mr Ahmed Abdulla Ahmed Al-Khal met the Indian industry leaders here last week.
Commenting on the bilateral trade between GCC and India, Dr Seetharaman said the trade increased by eight per cent in 2012-13 when compared to previous year over $159 billion. “Imports of GCC from India increased by 13 per cent in 2012-13 when compared to previous year to $51billion.Exports of GCC countries to India increased by six per cent in 2012-2013 when compared to previous year to $108bn. India and GCC identified sectors like oil and gas, fertiliser and information technology as key areas of cooperation. In the financial year that ended in March 2013, remittances from the GCC to India rose to US$24.93bn from $16.43 billion in 2011. GCC will continue to grow in its stature as a major remittance source bloc to India,” he pointed out.
On the bilateral trends between Qatar and India, he said the former was the largest supplier of LNG to India. “There is a large market for Qatar’s LNG, oil and petrochemical sectors in India. RasGas entered into its 25th year, 7.5 MTA sale and purchase agreement with Petronet and has been supplying the Indian market since 2004. The bilateral trade between the Qatar and India during 2012-13 exceeded $16 billion. In May 2013, Qatar bought a five per cent stake in Indian telecoms firm Bharti Airtel Ltd for $1.26 billion. In March 2014, India and Qatar agreed to enhance trade ties between them. Many Indian Companies such as L&T, Tata Projects, Voltas, and Punj Llyod have active relationships in the Qatari market. ”
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