21 October, 2020

Curry In Hot Garlic Sauce

The 'Chinese threat' may materialise in reverse: Beijing now fears an Indian invasion

Curry In Hot Garlic Sauce
My first visit to India, more than 20 years ago, was in a previous incarnation as an investment banker. I often say that the experience of trying (and failing) to do business in India is what drove me back to my first-choice career—journalism. I am only partly joking. For the visiting foreign businessman, India in those days was an exercise in sustained frustration, and a vision of untapped potential. For many, it probably still is. But India has been transformed in at least three ways that have made it a magnet for foreign businesses.

The first and most obvious is the change in attitude in government. In the early 1980s, there was a self-defeating caution that both wrapped local business in protective layers of cotton wool and fended off foreign commercial offers even when they were clearly in India's interest. On that first visit, for example, my mission was to sell a financial package to pay for Air India's purchases from Airbus. Because of arcane and complicated tax-sparing, leasing and export-credit arrangements, we were able to offer a loan at far below market rates:...


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