THIS week saw the 70th anniversary of the end of British rule in India and the partition of the subcontinent into two new independent counties: India and Pakistan. It has of course been a time of huge celebrations in both of these vastly populated and proud countries but also one of much reflection on a period of terrible inter-communal violence and the administrative chaos that took place as the British beat a hasty withdrawal.

Partition saw millions of families uprooted from their homelands in a process of mass migration as Hindus and Sikhs made their way into the redrawn India while in the opposite direction Muslim families from across India migrated to what would become the new state of Pakistan.

From an investment perspective, this historic anniversary comes at a time when India, the former ‘jewel in the crown’ of the British Empire, is now increasingly recognised as the jewel in the so-called Bric firmament of major emerging market nations. Among the Bric countries, Brazil is reeling from political corruption scandals, Russia has virtually become an international pariah and its economy too exposed to energy prices, and worries persist about the rapid growth of the debt mountain of China - the second-largest economy in the world.

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India, in contrast, is on a roll, with the IMF forecasting GDP growth of 7.2 per cent this year and 7.7 per cent in 2018, ahead of all other major developed and emerging market countries.

Key to the long-term case for India is its hugely positive demographic profile. India is a vastly populated country of 1.34 billion people, with its citizens representing almost 18 per cent of the human race.

Its population is some 2.4 times the size of the EU and closing in on that of China. But, unlike much of the developed world, which is grappling with the economic challenges of ageing and declining populations, India is a young nation. The median age in the country is just 27 years old - compared 40 in the UK - and by 2025 it is expected to have the largest workforce in the world.

By contrast, its chief emerging market rival China is expected to see its population peak over the next decade as a result of its disastrous and controversial former ‘one child per family’ policy and which is already seeing its workforce shrink by around five million a year.

India enjoys other advantages as well with English, the language of international business, widely spoken, and a large segment of highly educated citizens who are part of its rapidly expanding middle class.

More recently, India has been energised with new confidence since the election in May 2014 of a business-friendly majority Government led by Narendra Modi. This has resulted in a programme of important structural reforms while Modi has also trotted the globe relentlessly, raising the profile of India as a destination for foreign direct investment.

Key reforms include the introduction of a new Goods & Service Tax this year, which replace a patchwork of local taxes across India’s states; demonetisation - a bold and unexpected move last year which saw the sudden withdrawal of 87 per cent of the cash notes in circulation to clamp down on the black economy; and the implementation of a biometric identity system allowing benefits to be paid directly into bank accounts, which has created efficiency and drawn millions of the rural population into the formal banking system.

The size of the Indian equity market is relative small compared to both its population and the opportunity. As measured by market capitalisation, Indian companies represent less than one per cent of the MSCI All Companies World Index and just nine per cent of the MSCI Emerging Market Index, so for many investing in a fund solely focused on India, such as the market leader Jupiter India or the JP Morgan Indian Investment Trust, might be regarded as a step too far in terms of risk.

For those wanting a more diversified approach, it is worth noting that a number of leading Asian and global emerging market funds with broader regional remits have nevertheless weighed heavily in favour of the country. These include the highly popular £9.3 billion Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders fund and the JP Morgan Emerging Markets Investment Trust, which have respectively amassed 30.6 per cent and 20.8 per cent of their portfolios into India, a country which represents one of the greatest investment opportunities of the next decade.

Jason Hollands is managing director of Tilney Group.