It is difficult to overstate global investors’ enthusiasm for India’s Narendra Modi. “For the first time in 67 years, this country has a prime minister who is pro-business,” Canada’s Prem Watsa said after meeting Mr. Modi in November. Brian Moynihan, the chief executive of Bank of America Corp.,said a short conversation with India’s leader earlier this month was all he needed to “see why people see the optimism.” Masayoshi Son, founder of Japan’s Softbank Corp., met Mr. Modi in Tokyo in September and a month later came to India to announce investments of more than $800-million (U.S.). “He gave us more confidence that India is going to be more transparent and deregulated with a lot of focus and passion to improve India as the environment for investment,” Mr. Son told the Economic Times in an interview. Mr. Modi has accumulated this vast reserve of trust without having to implement any major policy changes. International investors seem encouraged simply by the presence of an Indian leader who openly has embraced the economic orthodoxy of fiscal prudence, low inflation, free trade and investment, and minimal regulation. It will be interesting, therefore, to observe the reaction of Mr. Modi’s foreign disciples as he continues to adapt that orthodoxy to fit his purposes.
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