The South Asian Diaspora Convention (SADC) should consider reaching out to businesses and thought leaders in China and ASEAN to participate in the discussions. DBS Bank's chief executive officer Piyush Gupta (below right), who is a speaker at the second SADC in Singapore on Nov 21 and 22, believes that this would add to the richness of the discussions.
He adds that the emergence of "digital" is disrupting industries and businesses across the world, hence future SADCs "could also attempt to address how Indian companies can harness India's strengths i.e. its skilled IT people and knowledge base in information technology, to achieve a breakthrough".
The convention, organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies, was launched in 2011. It brings together notable speakers in the fields of business, politics and the arts from the South Asian region.
Mr Gupta is a speaker at this year's session titled Cross Border Regulations And Access To Financial Markets, which will take place on Nov 22.
Speaking about the issues he hoped to raise at the talk, Mr Gupta tells tabla! that Asia, including South Asia, is a region made up of countries in different stages of economic development, diverse cultures and political systems. He says countries like India are facing savings deficits while requiring projected infrastructure investments of US$1 trillion over the next five years.
While other countries like China have huge savings surplus with foreign reserves of US$3 trillion at the end of 2012.
"Instead of looking afar for financing needs, banks can partner with deficit countries, especially in South Asia, to tap the savings pools in this region," he says.
He stresses that there are two key issues that need to be addressed to facilitate the efficient flow of capital across countries in the region. "One, financial intermediaries and banks need greater access to the local banking markets to efficiently direct funds across borders. Two, local debt and equity markets need to be deepened for companies to raise funds across the region for growth. This would imply the need to create new financial instruments and asset classes, particularly in fixed income," Mr Gupta says.
The SADC is bringing the Indian finance minister P. Chidambaram for a special keynote address on Opportunities And Challenges For Diaspora Investments In India. And Mr Gupta is looking forward to what Mr Chidambaram has to say.
Says Mr Gupta: "If we look at the longer term, India's growth story is still credible and underlying economic growth drivers are intact. The key remains in the ability of political leaders to implement structural reforms to promote growth and attract private sector investments."
He also speaks about the judiciousness of holding the SADC in Singapore, given its strategic position, at a point of convergence of financial and trade flows in the region. "Its (Singapore's) unique ability to bridge language and cultural differences between South Asia, ASEAN and China makes it a great springboard for Indian companies to expand into the region. Holding the SADC meet in Singapore will pave the way for the further exploration of opportunities between South Asia, the region and beyond," Mr Gupta says.
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