Author Topic: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip  (Read 6896 times)

Parsad

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Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« on: January 09, 2019, 11:47:58 PM »
I will be doing a blog in this thread for 7 days regarding the Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip.  About 45 of us are going on this tour, which will include tours of Indian cultural sites and meetings with Fairfax India company executives.  I will record our adventure, including photos of the trip.  Cheers!

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petec

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 12:47:30 AM »
Outstanding. Thanks Parsad. If they do another I might have to sign up!

Parsad

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2019, 09:11:43 AM »
Flew into Delhi's Mahatma Ghandhi Airport on Cathay Pacific.  As we approach our landing, it becomes very obvious that there is a tremendous amount of smog...you could see it at night, hovering over the city and its residents! 

Delhi Airport looks a bit dated, but is cleaner than I expected.  Our attendant from the Leela Palace Hotel in Delhi greets us after the baggage pickup and guides us to our BMW 5 Series car and driver.  As we walk through the terminal, it is much more modern than the area we walked through after disembarking the plane.

As we exit the Airport parking, Delhi's traffic becomes glaringly obvious.  It's about 10:30pm, but the roads look like rush hour in New York.  Drivers jostle for space, as there is no such thing as lanes anymore...the lines are there for foreign rental car drivers...Indians don't seem to use them as cars, motorbikes, trucks, tuk-tuks all fight for their little gap to drive through.  Unlike North America where a honk usually is accompanied with the "finger", the honks here in Delhi's traffic are simply a warning to let other driver's know you are there.

We drive into the Leela Palace Hotel's driveway, and there is a security checkpoint.  The staff open our doors after the checkpoint, and we get out and are greeted warmly, and then guided to the security screening and metal detector.  The staff opens the hotel doors and we are led into the hotel, where a hostess continues the warm salutations and places a fresh flower garland around our necks. 

The lobby is magnificent!  I struggle once again with the concept of seeing the two very diverse sides of India...the vast amount of wealth and luxury, and the abject poverty that breaks ones heart.  Tonight is luxury...I'm certainly not complaining!

The next morning, after a nice breakfast in the hotel, we hired a driver for two hours to take us around Delhi.  We visited Humayan's Tomb, the Presidental Palace, Parliament Buildings, Connaught Place, India Gate, etc.  For my Mom, who I brought with me, this was a trip of contrasts.  She last came to India 36 years earlier with my Father back in 1982.  The Ambassador cars and tuk-tuks were mostly replaced now with Hyundai's, Kias, Tatas, BMW's, Mercedes and Suzuki's.  While the historical sites remain, it is clear that Delhi is going through something.  The question is whether it is China 15 years ago, or just India going through another cycle. 

For me, the smog is the most obvious characteristic.  It is noticeable in every way possible...visually, by smell, and literally touch as the residue shows up  each morning when you take a shower and blow your nose!  I remember the smog over Los Angeles in the 70's.   It was bad, but was never as thick as what floats above Delhi.  Beijing after a 5-day dry spell around summer comes closest to mind.  Contrary to opinion, the Chinese have done a remarkable  job in terms of air quality over the last decade...India will have to do the same...more electric/hybrid cars, buses, scrubbers and clean energy.  It's not a question of "if", but "when" India will pour more money into these initiatives.  After 60 years, like China, India under Modi is being forced to change. 

Disposable income is increasing, the obvious young population of India is optimistic and driven...and like China, India is going to have to pour massive amounts of capital into infrastructure, housing and energy.  Prem estimated at the last AGM, that India needs 40 km of new roads every single day.  That may actually be an understatement!  Along with roads you need all other components of infrastructure to complement it...schools, hospitals, sewers, water, electricity, etc.  There is a trickle down effect when the country spends enormous amounts of capital on infrastructure, and India either has to spend trillions or fall behind. 

After touring the city, we make our way back to the hotel.  I decided to go for a swim in the Leela Palace Hotel's rooftop infinity pool.  As I swim in the stunning pool with nearly 360 degree views of Delhi city,, listening to the feint honks of cars 14 stories below,  I can only wonder what India will look like 10-20-30 years down the road.  Total population between India and China is relatively close today, yet less than 400M Indians have internet access, while over 750M Chinese have internet access.  India's population is far younger than China's, and while there remains rampant corruption,  India does have the rule of law, democratic elections, enforceable courts and strong property rights.  That can't be said about China!

Change is here!  Can we identify what and who succeeds in India over the next 20-30 years?  Cheers!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 06:48:49 PM by Parsad »
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Cardboard

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 11:00:21 AM »
"Can we identify what and who succeeds in India over the next 20-30 years?"

Copper and most commodities will be greatly needed.

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wondering

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2019, 08:23:38 AM »
Thanks for the post Sanjeev.  Please keep them coming.

Your experiences of India match mine, when I worked there several years ago for a total of 8 months.  Great wealth - great poverty.  Crazy traffic.  Luckily, the pollution in Bangalore (where I worked) wasn't as bad, but this pretty terrible compared to Canadian standards.

IMO, the young people of India will lead the charge to change the country significantly, especially the young women.  It is a very exciting country with tons of potential.

FairFacts

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2019, 06:41:26 PM »
Great post Parsad, please keep them coming.

Spekulatius

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2019, 09:52:49 AM »
I see a great market for luxury goods, pollution control, infrastructure, public transportation equipment, housing,  airplanes , travel/ hotels, cars, social media/ advertising. It will be interesting how this country managed the growth?

Did you notice any security or terrorism issues? Those things can really mess with growth and stall a country.
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Jurgis

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 12:02:43 PM »
Did you notice any security or terrorism issues? Those things can really mess with growth and stall a country.

Apart from security checkpoint, security screening, and metal detector going into hotel?  ::)
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bearprowler6

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 02:01:46 PM »
It would also be very helpful if those individuals on the trip in India could report back on the current political atmosphere in the country. Especially, as it relates to the likelihood of Modi`s re-election later this year. As we all know---a big reason for Prem`s decision to invest so much capital into India was due to the benefits that he believed a Modi led government would bring to the country. From what I have been reading---Modi`s re-election is less than a certainty. Any insight into this area would be greatly appreciated.

OracleofCarolina

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Re: Fairfax Financial Shareholder's India Trip
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2019, 02:55:08 PM »
Thanks Sanjeev for the posts. Looking forward to your updates!