Dubai: India is looking at Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, notably Qatar, with great expectations and hopes to improve trade volumes with the region, a senior official of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has said.
“There has been a massive growth in India’s business with Middle East nations and it is poised to grow in view of the growing requirements of both sides,” FICCI additional director (Arab states and Central Europe) Goutam Ghosh said.
“While Indo-Qatar trade was worth only $1.1 billion in 2005, it grew to approximately $5.6 billion at the end of the first quarter of this year,” Ghosh told the Gulf Times on the sidelines of a meeting organized by FICCI in association with the local Indian Business Promotion Network (IBPN).
He said India is focusing on expanding its share in the small and medium enterprises (SME) segment of GCC states Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which the country considers the strength and backbone of its economy.
“More than 60% of our industry comprises SMEs and their share is expected to grow further in coming years as more and more entrepreneurs are keen on investing in SMEs,” he said.
Ghosh observed that the trend in GCC states, including Qatar, to shift their focus from hydrocarbon industries will help attract more investors from countries like India. “One of the top priorities of the FICCI-led ongoing mission is to increase India’s presence in the products and services sector,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
With more Indian companies showing interest in the region in diverse areas, India hopes to achieve better results in trade with GCC states in the next few years.
India’s skill and expertise in a range of businesses that are familiar and beneficial to GCC entrepreneurs would help the countries record substantial economic growth in the next decade, he said, adding that even while seeking cooperation in setting up joint ventures in both countries, India would help local entrepreneurs gain expertise and knowledge in areas appealing to the locals.
“While the UAE used to serve as the hub of all business activities from India, now all the GCC states have built up direct trade with our country,” he said.
The official felt the growth being recorded by India at various levels has started getting wide acceptance in different countries and the participation of a large number of local businessmen in the meetings yesterday stood testimony to their increasing confidence in India’s delivery capabilities.