Terming the Indo-Pacific region as the new economic centre of gravity of the globalised world, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal invited the business community to actively take part in efforts for bolstering development, trade and growth in the region.
Delivering the keynote address at the CII’s Special Plenary with the Trade Ministers in the Indo-Pacific region on “Developing a Road Map for Shared Prosperity”, Goyal said that India’s track record should give confidence to the countries that it will be their “natural” and “most reliable ally in years to come”.
Goyal said that when “we talk of shared prosperity we must remember that shared prosperity is impossible without shared commitment”.
He said that it is a commitment that entails sharing challenges as well as opportunities and risks as well as rewards.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, he said amidst all the suffering caused by the pandemic, there is a silver lining – a growing spirit of brotherhood among nations to help each other. He stressed that the spirit of brotherhood, more than anything else, has laid a robust foundation “on which we have a chance to build promising partnerships”. Goyal reminded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in 2015, had articulated his vision for the Indo-Pacific in one word ‘SAGAR’ (Security And Growth of All in the Region).
He said that it must serve as the guiding principle for all nations in this region, as a secure and stable Indo-Pacific region equals peace and prosperity for all.
The event was attended by Yoon Sung Roh, Chairman of the Presidential Committee, Republic of Korea; Betty C. Maina, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development, Republic of Kenya; Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Minister in charge of Talent Attraction and Retention, United Arab Emirates.
Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Republic of Fiji; and Bandula Gunawardana, Minister of Trade, Republic of Sri Lanka also addressed the session.
During his address, Goyal said that when the world looks at resilient supply chains it looks east to the Indo-Pacific region.
He assured that as the world moves to realign from over-concentrated and risky supply chains, they can trust India to provide a multitude of investment and manufacturing opportunities.
He noted that India endorses the concept of working towards ensuring a transparent, trustworthy, dependable and reliable supply chain.
Mentioning the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative launched in September 2020 as a firm step towards building resilient supply chains, he said that other friendly countries may also be included in it. Goyal said that the abundance of trade agreements in the Indo-Pacific has led to a decline in tariff rates over time. He, however, added that non-tariff measures act as a major trade barrier in the region. Trade facilitation can ease the cross-border movement of goods. Mentioning India’ strengths, Goyal said that even during the initial months of the pandemic, when the country was in lockdown, no supply chain was allowed to be disrupted.
It was ensured that the country met all its international service commitments in the IT sector.
He added, “Our track record should give confidence to our friends that India will be their natural and most reliable ally in years to come”. Talking about “Aatmnirbhar Bharat” (Self Reliant India), Goyal said India today stands at a critical juncture where it is looking to forge its own destiny and of its 130 billion people. He said that Aatmnirbhar Bharat is not about looking inward, rather it is about engaging with the world with a spirit of competitiveness and from a position of strength.