NEW DELHI: India received almost $20 billion in investments and pledges between April and July, the months when most part of the world, including Asia’s third largest economy, was in lockdown to prevent the spread of covid-19, numbers compiled by the government show.
This is being seen as a vote of confidence in India as a key investment destination despite questions over whether Asia’s third largest economy would be able to attract investments against the backdrop of low availability of financial resources in the world in the covid-19 pandemic era.
The largest investment pledge is from US tech company Google which announced it would invest $10 billion in India in the coming years. This followed a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Google CEO Sundar Pichai earlier this week.
Another major announcement during this period was by US social media company Facebook which said it would be putting in $ 5.7 billion dollars in Reliance Jio Platforms. This is seen as Facebook’s biggest single investment in another company. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has also announced plans to put in $ 1.6 billion in Reliance’s Jio.
Another substantial investment was announced in recent days by Taiwanese electronics’ company Foxconn of $1 billion.
Besides these, chipmaker Qualcomm’s investor arm Qualcomm Ventures said it would be putting in $ 97 million in investment in India. Others who have pledged investments include consumer electronics major Thomson with $ 142.8 million. Japan’s Hitachi and South Korea’s Kia Motors besides auto parts company Hyundai Mobis have made public plans to expand investments or their presence in India.
SGS which partners Amazon in quality packaging and seen as one of the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company recently announced the opening of ts first accreditation testing lab in India. Other places where the company has labs include Cestas in Bordeaux, France and Appleton in the US. Tsuzuki, one of the leading Japanese electronics company, has opened a brand-new plant at Reliance's Model Economic Township in Jhajjar in Haryana. Besides this, South Korea’s Samsung has now started manufacturing their entire range of 18 smartwatches in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his vision for an “Atma Nirbhar Bharat" or self reliant India on 12 May with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman outlining a number of steps to help domestic industry recover from the lockdown as well as attract foreign investors looking to move out of China in the wake of countries seeking alternate locations to base supply chains or alternate sources for products.
The call for a self reliant India has evoked concerns from foreign investors who have questioned whether this constitutes protectionism. In recent weeks, Modi and senior Indian government ministers have emphasised that “self reliant" did not mean that India would be become protectionist but rather open its doors and welcome investments from those New Delhi felt confident about.