Business as usual in corporate India after blasts

Tuesday, 26 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs   |    4 Comments
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NEW DELHI: The twin blasts in India's financial capital that killed 49 people will not adversely impact domestic business sentiments nor scare away foreign investors, experts said Tuesday.

Industry representatives and analysts say Indian business fundamentals continue to be strong and the outlook for the industry looks robust despite the powerful explosions that rocked Mumbai Monday.

"The blasts have come at a time when the Indian industry was doing reasonably well and all indicators were projecting good times ahead," said Jayant Bhuyan, secretary general of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.

"Against this backdrop, the incident may come as a temporary setback but I don't think this will continue for long. The Indian industry has the resilience to face this crisis and emerge stronger," Bhuyan told IANS.

"The good thing is the business fundamentals are very strong. While we are saddened by the loss of life of innocent people, it's business as usual for the Indian industry."

At noon Tuesday, the Indian stock market barometer, the 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index or Sensex, was trading at 4,093.14, a gain of 88.51 points or 2.2 percent over its Monday's close.

The blue chip share market index closed nearly three percent lower Monday on across-the-board selling pressure after the powerful bomb blasts.

The index had crossed the crucial 4,000-mark after 29 months last Tuesday, enthused by large scale buying in shares of old economy companies on hopes of sharply higher economic growth this year.

Finance Minister Jaswant Singh said Monday the fall in equity markets after blasts was a "small blip" and the markets remained stable.

"The recovery in the stock market a day after large-scale panic selling is a clear indication that the Indian industry has taken the bomb blasts in its stride," said industry analyst D.H. Pai Panandiker.

"It's not that these incidents happen only in India. Terrorism has now become a rule in every country. It has become an acceptable thing now globally and, therefore, it really doesn't affect business plans in a big way."

The Indian government tightened security in various cities, including the national capital, after two explosions Monday near the Mumba Devi temple in central Mumbai and the historic Gateway of India monument.

At least 49 people were killed and nearly 200 injured in two devastating explosions. The terrorist attack in the country's financial hub came a decade after serial blasts that killed around 300 people and injured over 800 in 1993.

"It's a very unfortunate thing to happen. Incidents like these are always very troubling," said Nandan Nilekani, CEO and managing director of Infosys Technologies.

Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies, the country's largest listed software exporter, postponed a news conference scheduled in Mumbai Tuesday because of the explosions.

"One has to understand that as India grows politically and economically, these kind of attacks will happen with greater frequency with a view to derail us," said Anand Mahindra, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

"The important thing is we have to show the world we are not going to be intimidated. The business will go on as usual and the country will go on as usual," Mahindra told a private television channel.

Reports from Mumbai said offices were functioning normally across the city a day after the blasts. A World Bank team is also scheduled to arrive to discuss economic reforms with the Maharashtra government.

"The Mumbai people have always shown their resilience in situations like this. People are shaken a bit but business activity has not stopped," said a broker with the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Source: IANS
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