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Leading UK banker says India is booming

Leading UK banker says India is booming

Author: Shyam Bhatia in london
Publication: Rediff on Net
Date: March 18, 2004
URL: http://us.rediff.com/money/2004/mar/18india.htm?headline==India~is~booming:~Leading~UK~banker

A leading British banker has endorsed the government's 'India shining' claim by declaring that "India is now booming".

Gerard Lyons, chief economist of Standard Chartered Bank, has told a meeting of Labour Friends of India, "India is now booming, but we should not lose sight that eight per cent growth needs to be maintained."

Lyons, a keynote speaker at the meeting, compared India's current level of economic success with the dark days of 1991 when the government in New Delhi faced a liquidity crisis.

Since then, Lyons said, macro economic policy had improved and the $106 billion in foreign reserves has given the government flexibility to withstand any future economic shocks.

"In my view if India gets its domestic policies right, it could also have a big regional impact in South Asia", he added. Noting that South Asia represented one fifth of the global population, Lyons said India had the potential to be a regional powerhouse for South Asia, just as China was in South East Asia.

At the global level, according to Lyons, India can do for international trade services what China does for manufactured goods. He said call centres are just the tip of the iceberg of the high quality service centres that India can provide, backed up by the English language competence and good technical skills of the local population.

Lyons' upbeat assessment of the Indian economy was endorsed by UK Trade and Industry Minister Nigel Griffiths, who said bilateral trade between India and the UK was now worth £5 billion.

Griffiths said more than 300 Indian companies had now established themselves in the UK and India is now second only to the United States as an investor in Britain.

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