Saturday, March 26, 2011

If you have more like Ajit Jain, send them over to me: Warren Buffet to India PM

NEW DELHI: Warren Buffett preferred to play second fiddle to his associate Ajit Jain when the duo called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday.

"Shareholders in my company have more faith in him than in me. I am just a name," the Oracle from Omaha told the PM. "If you have more like him send them over to me," Buffet said. The 10-minute interaction also brought out Buffet's faith in IITs as centres of excellence. "In 1991, I asked Bill Gates which institution I should recruit from. He suggested IIT, and he was right," he told the Prime Minister.

Buffet who was bullish on economies of India and the US also interacted with a group of MPs. In the hour-long interaction, the investment wizard refrained from proffering any advice on what India should do. He, however, expressed his admiration for the emphasis of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and PM on inclusive growth.

He agreed with Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh that US had turned insular at a time when India and China were looking outward, but said that it was because of the crisis in the US economy. Asked whether financial liberalization was responsible for the economic crisis in the US, Buffet blamed what he called "mass delusion for house ownership". But while he said that another crisis could not be ruled out, the Wizard of Omaha was confident that the American economy would get out of its current woes shortly.
Replying to a question from BJP MP Chandan Mitra about corporate corruption, Buffet said that the USA was built on corporate corruption. But there was a clean up and regulation was brought in, he said. The iconic investment guru, however, stressed that he was not defending corporate corruption, but only suggesting that things needed to be viewed in a perspective.

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