Source Pravda.Ru

Businessmen say New Delhi blasts will not harm Indian economy

Indian business leaders and foreign investors said Monday that weekend blasts in New Delhi that killed 59 people would have little impact on India's surging economy and appeared unlikely to scare off investment. India's stock markets rose sharply Monday, despite the attacks. The 30-share benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange, or Sensex, rose 2.7 percent to close at 7,789 points.

On the rival National Stock Exchange, the 50-stock S&P Nifty ended at 2,371, up 2.4 percent.

Similar terror attacks in the past have led to confrontations between India and Pakistan, and consequently forced foreign investors to back off.

But Pakistan was quick to condemn Saturday's bombings, which ripped through two crowded markets and almost hit a bus, and India has appeared hesitant to point a finger at its nuclear rival or Kashmiri militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan.

"It is early days to say how would the blasts affect India-Pakistan relations, but as of now I don't see much of an impact," said N. Srinivasan, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, the country's biggest business association.

Andrew Holland, a Merrill Lynch executive based in Bombay, said terrorist attacks no longer really affect perceptions about a country's business environment.

"Investors have learned to live with it," he said, citing Monday's stock rally.

Foreign investors have been increasingly eyeing the Indian economy, which is growing 7 percent annually, one of the fastest in the world, according to the AP.

Foreigners have this year bought more than US$8 billion (Ђ6.5 billion) worth of Indian stocks, and overseas companies have invested more than half that amount in projects on the ground.

"I don't think bomb blasts are going to affect India's investment climate," said Bob Hoekstra, the chief executive of Philips India Software Center in Bangalore, India's technology hub, where scores of foreign companies have offices and research centers.

"Blasts take place everywhere, in London, in the U.S., in Indonesia, all over. So, it is not an issue particularly for India," Hoekstra said.

"There is good economic growth, stable financial sector, supportive policies and growing demand," all of which will continue to lure foreign companies, he said.

T.E.