WEF: Thomas Friedman bullish on India

Noted economist Thomas Friedman has said he is hugely optimistic about India's growth potential, even though the country is facing big challenges.

Comparing the Indian economy to a super highway, Friedman said the country, which remains a true democracy, has also the right mix to support economic growth.

"People often ask me about India, China. For me they are two super highways but they are difficult.

''For India, some white lines are not there, there may not be some sidewalks, but it still a super highway when you drive on it, but whether that is a mirage or true, I don't know," he said.

"It's noisy, its messy, it can be violent at times, but it is a country that still remains a true democracy.

''India's pluralism and its ability to manage it is a big lesson for whole world. At the end of the day, it is governance that matters," he added.

Regarding the Chinese economy, Friedman said the country has very good roads, but there is a speed bumper called political reforms.

Friedman, well known for his book The World is Flat, was participating in India Outlook at the World Economic Forum yesterday where finance minister P Chidambaram was also present.

Internet major Google's senior vice president and chief business officer Nikesh Arora also echoed similar views, saying the company has been very bullish about India for a long time.

Nearly half of the Indian CEOs surveyed were "very confident" about revenue gains for their companies in the next 12 months, according to a study released by global consultancy PwC.

While business leaders generally favoured policy changes for long-term value creation, a sense of optimism was evident with industry captains and global leaders seeing improved business confidence and many experts predicting good prospects for the Indian economy.

The 44th WEF annual meet, participating more than 2,500 people from different parts of the world, comes at a time when the global economy is grappling with sluggish growth.