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Hardly anyone would argue that China isn't an economic miracle.
Over the last 20 years, its 1.3 billion people have propelled the Chinese economy into the world's No. 2 spot.
But two decades of blistering 10% annual growth have moderated to 7%.
However, a potential sea change is underway in its southern neighbor, India.
With a new, impressive prime minister, and a burgeoning consumer population, they're setting up as the next economic miracle…
The Barriers to Growth Are Tumbling Down
India's 1.2 billion people have just held the world's biggest democratic election in history.
With 814 million eligible voters, it took over a month to complete.
And with a 66.38% turnout, the highest ever in Indian general elections, people wanted to be heard.
That's because after decades of crippling bureaucracy and deep-rooted corruption, Indians have had enough.
In a country where government boondoggles are rampant, it's estimated some $240 billion of public works projects are red-taped and unable to move forward.
In one instance, the federal government investigated illegal and unreported iron ore mining over the four years spanning from 2006 to 2010. As a result, numerous high-ranking officials were jailed after more than 110 billion short tons of iron ore may have been mined without permits or paying royalties.
Since then, the Supreme Court of India has banned mining in some of the involved areas, with the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries indicating that iron ore exports have fallen 70% since the ban in Karnataka and Goa states.
Sadly, most of India's infrastructure is appalling: power, transportation, information networks, and water, where they exist, are often subpar and overloaded.
But that's not the case everywhere.
Take Gujarat state, for example…
The Economist said Gujarat is India's Guangdong – an industrial powerhouse province in China – and that "so many things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like India."
Gujarat is so industrious that it's responsible for 25% of national exports, while home to just 5% of India's population.
Most impressive, however, is the man who was instrumental to the state's success.
Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014. During his tenure, the last decade saw Gujarat's economy grow at over 10% annually, while India's grew at just under 8%. Modi brought electricity to all 60 million of its residents, the first Indian state to achieve this milestone.
And Modi also happens to be India's newly elected prime minister.
Modi's reputation, it's fair to say, is why his party won the election. They even locked up seats to spare with India's most decisive vote in three decades.
According to the BBC's Andrew North, "The scale of victory is truly gigantic in India's fractured polity where no party has managed to get a simple majority since Congress in 1984 won 415 seats riding on a sympathy wave after the assassination of Indira Gandhi."
On his first day in office, Modi clearly stated that his office would "call the shots" on all important policy issues, reversing the structure that developed over the last decade, leading to massive inaction.
The Best Direct Play on India
Modi may be a person of ambition, but, more importantly, his track record demonstrates he's one of action.
His goal is to bring electricity to all of India by 2019 which, to this day, still counts 400 million citizens without.
Infrastructure build-out and improvements, deregulation, and foreign investment are all top priorities for the new administration. Modi has ambitious plans for his country.
That's going to require massive amounts of resources like base metals and energy. And with China's growth moderating, India could go a long way to compensate for demand.
And it appears investors have taken notice of India's new way forward.
Year to date, along with a shot in the arm since the start of the election, India's stock market has gained 17%.
But I believe there's much more to come.
A straightforward way to play India's secular bull is through the iShares India 50 ETF (Nasdaq: INDY). The fund tracks the performance of India's 50 largest public companies. It's up by 26% year to date, but still trades at a very reasonable P/E of 15 while yielding 0.7%. And there should be a lot more upside to come.
Modi's campaign slogan was "Good Times Ahead."
Considering his pro-business stance, propensity for lean government, and most of all his track record, it will also be "Great Profits Ahead."
About the Author
Peter Krauth is the Resource Specialist for Money Map Press and has contributed some of the most popular and highly regarded investing articles on Money Morning. Peter is headquartered in resource-rich Canada, but he travels around the world to dig up the very best profit opportunity, whether it's in gold, silver, oil, coal, or even potash.