Easter Readings: A Francophone View on India

It is good to be able to read media in multiple languages. It tells me how other parts of the world – beyond the Economist – see the world. So this weekend, I was surprised – and pleased – to see India in some fairly unexpected quarters of French media.

La Revue – a bi-monthly publication of the French magazine Jeune Afrique has an entire special section on India, titled, “L’Inde à pas de géant”. And this is a serious special section – an entire half of the issue (about 80 pages), is about India. And the opening article, by André Lewin – former French ambassador to India – sets the tone (Google translator):

Immensité du territoire, multiplicité des langues et des religions, persistance du système des caste…L’Inde aurait pu être ingouvernable. Pourtant, son unité est réelle et sa démocratie fait preuve d’une belle vitalité.

In fairly long articles, the issue covers the Nehru Gandhi dynasty, the political shifts caused by caste-based politics, demographic changes, the economy, society, and diaspora. Comprehensive, often fairly accurate, and going beyond the superficial coverage one sees in more mainstream English media, where India’s popularity has already peaked.

Banque & Finance - a Swiss banking bimonthly – also spends an entire 3-page article extohling the virtues of investing in India, and complains how offshore funds (mutual funds run our of Switzerland) are not very good, particularly when compared to the performance of and immense diversity of onshore funds. The article, while cautioning of overheating markets, identifies four pillars of India’s growth:

  1. Outsourcing gains momentum
  2. Infrastructure development catching pace
  3. Rural India to benefit from multiplier effect
  4. Favorable demography drives consumerism

Now, the Swiss are not known to be ahead of the curve. And Swiss banks are notorious for being the most boring, staid, and risk-averse institutions on this planet. So, if a mainstream Swiss banking publication is talking about the Indian growth story, surely, India’s time has arrived. In fact, it may already be past its peak!

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