While British telecom major Vodafone has taken control of Hutchison Essar, few have paid much attention to one of the losers—Qatar Telecom. It was a member of the Hinduja consortium that bid for India’s third-largest private telecom company.
The presence of Qatar Telecom shows that the Arab world is very keen to invest in India. DP World of Dubai alerady has large investments in Indian ports. The Arabs are awash in money. The oil-exporting countries in West Asia have a combined trade surplus in excess of $500 billion, thanks to the tripling of oil prices since 2002. They also have huge budget surpluses. Private incomes too have shot up. Part of this money will be used to rebuild the creaking infrastructure in these countries. (And this has excited Indian construction and engineering companies.) But a lot of the money will be invested abroad—to buy assets and companies.
Qatar Telecom and DP World are likely to be an advance guard.