‘India must interact with Asian partners amid improved business sentiments in the region’

According to IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook, business sentiment among Asian firms rebounded in the third quarter as easing Covid related restrictions lifted sales.
Asian firms’ outlook for the next six months tracked by the Thomson Reuters/ INSEAD Asian Business Sentiment Index jumped to 53 in the third quarter from an 11-year low of 35 in the second, according to the survey of 103 companies across 11 Asia-Pacific countries. To capture emerging business opportunities in post-Covid situation, it is pre-requisite for both Government and market players to remain prepared in advance and try to get a feel of the newly evolved market trends. To remain well aware of the constantly morphing dynamics of global market and emerging business opportunities could add an important edge to indigenous players to thrive through this difficult phase of global pandemic. With these broad objectives, Indian Chamber of Commerce ICC) is organizing a virtual exposition of Indian products entitled: “India e-biz Expo” from 21st – 24th November, 2020. The “Opening Session” of the programme was held on 21st November, 2020 to formally inaugurate the fair. The opening session saw few key deliberations from important dignitaries and experts setting the tone of the event. The Chief Guest for the virtual conference Mr. Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary – Overseas Indian Affairs, Ministry of External affairs, Government of India remarked that this is a timely initiative to explore the way ahead in a rapidly transforming world.
As we are all aware, Covid created an unprecedented disruption at all levels, which was not only a health crisis but also a socio-economic challenge. Mr. Bhattacharyya subsequently mentioned about India’s success to deal with Covid in terms of helping over 152 countries and cooperating on repatriation of stranded Indians on both directions. He informed that India facilitated return of over 1 lakh foreign citizens to their homes overseas. “Bande Bharat Mission” – the largest repatriation exercise ever has brought back over 30 lakh stranded Indians to the country. It was made possible only because of the active support from the partners across the world. Mr. Bhattacharyya opined that at economic level India’s new normal would depend on the revival of country’s old businesses seeking innovations and complementarities and exploring new business models.

According to him, some of the key opportunities visible at this stage include:
• Atmanirbhar Bharat, which envisaged a $ 5 trillion economy by making India “make for the world”. This will happen through greater integration with global economy. Under this massive scheme, the focus will be on: Joint Ventures, Infrastructure, and Manufacturing through intensified integration with Global Value Chains (GVCs) and tapping into sovereign global funds.
• Innovations and startups will be another focus area where business opportunities would emerge.
• New economic technology in areas like ICT, Consultancy, Fintech, Edutech, Biotech, Healthtech etc will also have enormous opportunities. Further, cooperation on industrial revolution will have stimulus to growth and keep us abreast in terms of technology. Mr. Bhattacharyya emphasized that India needs to transform a segment of the economic interaction to ahead-of-the-curve partnership. Focus on technology, RND and high Capital intensive industries would drive future oriented growth in the country. Enhanced technological cooperation especially in defence and space will create huge potential for private cooperation.
• Venturing into less explored markets can also unleash huge opportunity for Indian players. Focus must be moved on to smaller and not-much-ventured into countries. Through migration of professionals a strong boost can be provided towards our economy.
Lastly, Mr. Bhattacharyya mentioned that the need of the hour is to intensify high level interactions between India and its growing circle of partners for mutual benefit. He ended by saying that if business players from Bengal can strive and take full advantage of the newly evolved market opportunities under the leadership and guidance from ICC, then initiatives like these will be really fruitful. Dr. Nagesh Kumar, Director & Head – South & South West Asia office, UNESCAP and the Guest of Honor for the conference, very beautifully put forward an extensive array of economic and trade opportunities that India has on offer and how it could be leveraged and harnessed to the next level. He also mentioned about the silver lining that is visible at present in front of Indian manufacturers in terms of business promotion.
Ms. Sangeeta Bahadur, Ambassador of India to Belarus, Mr. Manish Prabhat, Ambassador of India to Uzbekistan and Mr. Rahul Shrivastava, Ambassador of India to Romania spoke at length about the potentials of boosting bilateral trade and commerce between India and these countries. They clearly pin-pointed sectors of opportune for Indian players in the respective countries and highlighted on the scope of further business promotions through joint ventures. Mr. Matumoto Katsuo, Chief Representative, JICA India office also focused on the trade ties and opportunities between India and Japan and gave a futuristic description about further developmental engagements between these two growth power houses.

Mr. Ali Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) put forward his thoughts on the economic bonhomie between India and Bangladesh. He mentioned about some new challenges and issues in terms of trade and commerce between these two countries and at the same time focused on huge economic potentials which can be unraveled in the ‘new normal scenario’ by the private players from both the countries. In his Welcome Address, Mr. Mayank Jalan, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce set the context for the need to organize virtual expositions, especially in these trying times to boost trade potential. Dr. Rajeev Singh, Director General, ICC thanked all the speakers and the exhibitors for their participation and value addition. The “India E-Biz Expo 2020” is a unique virtual marketplace created by ICC to promote business engagements between indigenous manufacturers/ exporters and foreign buyers on a completely digital platform. The virtual space created is broadly divided into two segments – Industrial & Consumer – and is being represented by 30 Indian exhibitors. The virtual expo is expected to be visited by buyers from different parts of the globe, particularly from Asian countries. Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is looking forward to see substantial business development through this expo during next four days (21st – 24th November, 2020) and aspires to take forward futuristic trade and commerce of the country to the next level.