Sachin Tendulkar signalled great promise and set about establishing records very early in his career with a Test debut at the age of 16 and his first hundred recorded at Old Trafford Manchester at the age of 17. In a country of over a billion people most of whom seem to be passionate about cricket; Sachin has become nothing less than a national icon and folk hero.
Twenty years on from his debut India has celebrated last week his achievements amassed over two decades in the top flight of world cricket. This outstanding player had scored 16 Test hundreds before he was 25 and in 2000 he passed another landmark becoming the first batsman to score 50 international hundreds. Amazingly the records have just kept falling as this diminutive 36 year old talent forged his way to the top. In 2008 he passed Brian Lara as the leading Test batsman, and now holds the record for the most hundreds in both Tests and ODIs.
Even as the nation celebrated his twenty year record breaking run, he attained new heights in amassing his 43rd Test Century and passing 30,000 international runs. I had the privilege of seeing Sachin play at Headingley in Yorkshire on his first tour of England when he scored 193 at the age of 17!
In so many ways Sachins career has mirrored the rise and rise of India as a nation over the last two decades, largely as result of the reforming instincts of Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao in the early 90s, and the steady hand of Dr Manmohan Singh, who has become the first Prime Minister to complete two successive terms since Jawaharla Nehru in 1962.
India is home to over a billion people, the worlds largest democracy and is the 7th largest land mass in the world. Since the reforms of the early 90s, Indias economic renaissance has appeared unstoppable with the global financial crisis marking only a brief punctuation point in the inexorable march toward world economic leadership. The fundamentals underpinning this progress are strong.
More than half the population is under the age of 25 giving India one of the strongest demographic profiles anywhere in the world. Its massive consumer economy can drive 6% GDP growth, and with a middle class that is 300 million strong and growing, there is every prospect that these trends will strengthen further.
FDI flows could easily test the $40bn mark as international investment returns in 2010, and a resumption of Indian business globalising is likely to take place with new IPOs appealing to international investor appetite, as Indian entrepreneurs go overseas in increasing numbers.
Goldman Sachs in its updated work on the BRIC economies has confirmed its prediction that India will see a fourfold increase in GDP per capita by 2020, and that the Indian economy will surpass that of the US by 2050.
So what is the link with Jersey?
Having now visited India four times it is clear, based on our research on the ground, that India needs mobile international capital and conduits that the international investment community favour, for both inbound and outbound investment. Huge infrastructure spend in airports, ports and roads is planned over the next decade as India connects 10 of the worlds 30 fastest growing urban areas.
Jersey is ideally placed to provide the vehicle for FDI flows from Europe to India, and fulfills a valuable role as a company formation and listings centre for Indian capital coming to Europe. In addition once international wealth is created we are well placed to continue to manage that wealth as one of the leading global wealth management centres.
Jersey companies are widely recognised as listing vehicles in New York, Toronto, London, Amsterdam and now Hong Kong. Expertise, reputation, and recognition by the main markets place us at the forefront of this activity, and when these attributes are combined with G20, IMF and OECD approved status, you have a compelling proposition with significant appeal to Indian companies.
Already constructive meetings have taken place with the Indian Government, the Indian regulatory authorities and industry. Flows of business are underway as Jersey seeks to support and assist India in managing international capital flows and to facilitate the global expansion plans of Indian firms and individuals.
By 2050, 700 million people will have moved to Indian cities and India will have become one of the major drivers of the world economy. There is no doubt this significant growth story is set to continue over the coming decades, and if you are active in India or would like to be, we should be delighted to hear from you, with a view to exploring how we can assist you in building a business platform with India.
Finally it is only fitting given this week is the anniversary of the Mumbai attacks to remember those who lost their lives, to think of the families affected, and to remark on the tremendous resilience and resolve of Indians to resist the advance of terror. India is a very welcoming and tolerant country in so many ways, and it is heartening to see how this tolerance and respect for diversity has been sustained through difficult times.
I conclude with a quote from arguably one of the greatest cricket players of all time, and an outstanding Indian:-
And that is the reason why this victory is great, because different players have made contributions to the win. Sachin Tendulkar