Bangalore, India (AFP) March 23, 2011 US billionaire investor Warren Buffett, on his maiden visit to India, said Tuesday he was looking at investing in the fast-growing South Asian nation. The chairman of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, which last week bought US lubricant maker Lubrizol for $9 billion, said "we need to make large commitments so India is a very logical place to look".
The 80-year-old Buffett, known as the "Oracle of Omaha" for his investment savvy, added that he did not consider India with its $1.3 trillion economy "as an emerging market, I consider India a very big market."
"We hope to spend some money here," said Buffett, whose company -- which has much of its investments in North America -- was sitting on a $38 billion cash pile at the end of 2010.
Buffett, who said he was looking at India's consumer goods and financial services sector, was speaking in the country's high-tech hub of Bangalore.
Berkshire Hathaway recently made a foray into India, teaming up with Bajaj Allianz General in the insurance sector.
Buffett arrived in India on Tuesday to join Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in seeking to persuade India's super-rich to part with some of their wealth as part of "The Giving Pledge" campaign started by the two tycoons last year.
Gates and Buffett, who wined and dined Chinese billionaires on a similar mission to Beijing last September, are to meet wealthy Indians on Thursday in the capital New Delhi.
Buffett, who has an estimated net worth of $50 billion, said the pair planned to talk to business leaders "about what we have done. If it seems like a good idea (to them) -- terrific.
"If it doesn't, they will have gotten a free dinner," he joked.
Gates, who has an estimated net worth of $56 billion and has put much of his money into the Gates Foundation, and Buffett have teamed up to persuade rich Americans to give away at least half of their wealth.
So far 59 have signed up to "The Giving Pledge."
Buffett, who has pledged 99 percent of his wealth to charity, said he had never given away a dollar "that has changed my life. I have never not gone to a movie or taken my family on a vacation."
He said that the money he is donating "has no value to me but has value to other people so it makes sense to give it away."
Speaking on the US economic recovery, Buffett said that "the American economy is getting better month by month."
He added that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami which have left more than 22,000 dead or missing was "a great human tragedy" but "is not going to stop the growth in the world economy."
Buffett dodged questions about whether Indian-born Ajit Jain, head of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire's reinsurance operations, might succeed him but heaped lavish praise on him.
Jain has long been mentioned as a contender to eventually replace Buffett.
"He is someone with incredible talent. He has probably made a lot more money for Berkshire Hathaway than I have," Buffett said, adding that he felt Jain was "like a brother or a son."
The octogenarian added there was nothing about his life he would like to change -- then quipped: "I would like to change my age".